Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has unveiled its next-generation automated driving research vehicle. Based on a Lexus LS 600hL, Platform 3.0 was designed to have greater technological capabilities and feature harmonised styling. Care was also taken to optimise how the automated technology is packaged for scale production.
“Our team has once again rapidly advanced our automated vehicle research capabilities,” said Dr Gill Pratt, TRI CEO and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) fellow. “To elevate our test platform to a new level, we tapped Toyota’s design and engineering expertise to create an all-new test platform that has the potential to be a benchmark in function and style.”
With Platform 3.0, TRI has matured its automated vehicle research, creating a more defined sensor configuration. The Luminar lidar system has a 200m range. On the previous platform, it only tracked forwards, but it now covers 360° around the vehicle. There are four lidar scanning heads, which detect even dark objects. There are shorter-range lidar sensors, placed low on each side of the vehicle to detect low-level and smaller objects near the car. TRI says the platform will be capable of incorporating future breakthrough technologies.
CALTY Design Research and engineers at Toyota Motor North America Research and Development (TMNA R&D) have worked to compact and conceal sensors replacing the ‘spinning bucket’ lidar sensor look. Meanwhile, the electronics infrastructure and wiring has been condensed into a small box.
Platform 3.0 cars will be created from stock Lexus LS models, beginning in spring 2018, at the Prototype Development Center at TMNA R&D headquarters in York Township, Michigan. The production volume will be low to allow for flexibility TRI has made three major updates to the test platform in less than a year.
Some of the new test vehicles will have the Chauffeur single-cockpit control configuration, for testing full automation, while others will have the Guardian dual-cockpit control layout, used to test ways of transferring control between the driver and the system while also enabling a backup safety driver.