Sunday, May 6, 2018

New Toyota Research Facility to Test Automated Driving Scenarios 'Too Dangerous for Public Roads'

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) new closed-course test facility,
Photo: Toyota media website.
Toyota revealed Thursday that one of the automaker's research and development divisions, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), is building a new, closed-course testing site to support the development of automated vehicle technology. The facility, to be built on an approximately 60-acre tract at the Michigan Technical Resource Park in Ottawa Lake, will have the purpose of testing driving scenarios that are "too dangerous to perform on public roads," according to Toyota.

“By constructing a course for ourselves, we can design it around our unique testing needs and rapidly advance capabilities, especially with Toyota Guardian automated vehicle mode,” said Ryan Eustice, TRI senior vice president of automated driving. “This new site will give us the flexibility to customize driving scenarios that will push the limits of our technology and move us closer to conceiving a human-driven vehicle that is incapable of causing a crash.”

The TRI facility will be constructed inside the existing 1.75-mile oval test track at the Michigan Technical Resource Park. Driving scenarios to be supported include congested urban environments, slick surfaces and a four-lane divided highway with high-speed entrance and exit ramps.

Toyota says that they are leasing the land from the Michigan Technical Resource Park where the new facility will be constructed, with the TRI managing the testing center's design, construction, and maintenance. The lease agreement will also allow TRI to utilize the Michigan Technical Resource Park's oval track and other onsite facilities and services.

The new site expands TRI’s closed-course testing capabilities, adding to partnerships with GoMentum Station in California, and Mcity and the American Center for Mobility in Michigan.

“We are very excited about the partnership with TRI,” said Mike Jones, president of Michigan Technical Resource Park.  “We believe that this relationship will be a proven winner.”

The Michigan Technical Resource Park site has been a vehicle proving ground since 1968 when it was created by a tier-one automotive supplier. The 336-acre technology park was sold to a private developer in 2010, and it now operates as a venue available to the automotive, commercial vehicle and mobile off-highway vehicle builders and component suppliers for testing and advanced engineered technology development.

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