Toyota to Show Off Autonomous Car Gains at CES
Toyota Research Institute on Thursday unveiled its next-generation automated driving research vehicle, dubbed Platform 3.0. Built on a Lexus LS 600hL, “Platform 3.0 has a sensor-rich package that makes it one of the most perceptive automated driving test cars on the road,” TRI wrote in a news release. TRI plans to show off this new research vehicle at CES in Las Vegas next week.
The company, formed in 2015 to focus on the research and development of artificial intelligence robotics, says Platform 3.0’s LIDAR system, which previously only tracked the forward direction, now covers the vehicle’s complete 360-degree perimeter. The four high-resolution LIDAR scanning heads can “precisely detect objects in the environment including notoriously difficult-to-see dark objects,” TRI wrote. The vehicle also has shorter-range LIDAR sensors on all four sides that can “detect low-level and smaller objects near the car like children and debris in the roadway.”
TRI is also touting the sleek design of its vehicle. All the sensors and cameras are small and part of the vehicle’s design, unlike other autonomous test vehicles, which sometimes have a large “spinning bucket” LIDAR sensor mounted on the roof and other equipment bolted on. Production of Platform 3.0 vehicles will kick off this spring at Toyota Motor North America’s Prototype Development Center in York Township, Mich. The vehicles will be produced in from stock Lexus LS models.
“Production volume is intentionally low to allow for continued flexibility given the quickness with which TRI has progressed in updating its test platform,” the company wrote. “There have been three major updates, including two new generation test models, in less than a year, and TRI anticipates continued rapid developments.”
Meanwhile, TRI isn’t the only company planning to show off automated driving technologies at CES. Lyft, in partnership with autonomous driving technology company Aptiv (formerly known as Delphi Automotive), plans to offer rides in self-driving cabs during the annual tech convention.