Toyota breaks ground on new vehicle test facility for autonomous vehicles.
Come October 2018, Toyota will have a new playground for researching and testing autonomous technology.
The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is in the midst of creating a "closed-course" test facility as a home to further develop automation. It is located in Ottawa Lake, MI.
The facility is to be built on a 60-acre site at the Michigan Technical Resource Park (MITRP), which includes an oval test track that is 1.75 miles long. According to Toyota, it will include "congested urban environments, slick surfaces and a four-lane divided highway with high-speed entrance and exit ramps."
A Controlled Environment
The main purpose for this is to be able to test out new automated technology in a safe environment. It also allows them to create situations specific to their research needs without disrupting the outside world.
Ryan Eustice, the senior vice president of automated driving, comments that "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."
If you recall, Uber's fatal accident in March caused Toyota to pause its autonomous testing on public roads. Toyota had stated at the time, "We feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers." This new testing facility will help prevent such incidents from happening in the first place, and we fully support the endeavor.
TRI will be leasing the land from MITRP, and they are in charge of the construction and maintenance of the facility.
"We are very excited about the partnership with TRI," said Mike Jones, president of MITRP. "We believe that this relationship will be a proven winner."
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