The Toyota Research Institute demonstrated the latest version of its self-driving vehicle platform, Platform 2.1, on a closed course this week. The first version of the platform was only released in March of this year.
“In the last few months, we have rapidly accelerated our pace in advancing Toyota’s automated driving capabilities with a vision of saving lives, expanding access to mobility and making driving more fun and convenient,” TRI CEO Dr. Gill Pratt said in a press release. “Our research teams have also been evolving machine intelligence that can support further development of robots for in-home support of people.”
The latest technology makes automated vehicles more aware of their surroundings more quickly, helping them detect objects, roads and safer driving routes. The system also processes data around road signs, lanes and other road elements to support map development. And using the LIDAR sensing system from technology startup Luminar, Toyota’s platform has a longer sensing range, can better detect 3D objects and uses a dynamically configurable field of view.
In addition, TRI added a second steering wheel to the vehicle on the right front passenger side along with pedals to allow researchers to test methods for transferring control between vehicle and passenger.
“Vehicles with automated driving technology will bring many benefits to society, but one of the top priorities at Toyota is to help make the traffic environment safer,” Toyota chief safety technology officer and senior managing officer Kiyotaka Ise said in the statement. “By having our vehicle technologies seamlessly anticipate and interact with human beings and the traffic environment, we will get closer to realizing a future without traffic injuries or fatalities.”