Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will show its next-generation automated driving research vehicle, Platform 3.0, at CES this week in Las Vegas. The new platform, which is built on a Lexus LS 600hL, combines greater technological capabilities with new harmonised styling that integrates the automated vehicle technology into the LS model’s design.
“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.”
TRI approached development of a new research platform with three core principles: (1) Elevate perception capabilities to be an industry pacesetter among automated vehicles; (2) Blend the sensing equipment into the vehicle design with a distinct appearance that is sleek and elegant; (3) Package the automated vehicle technology in a manner that is easy to reproduce for building a fleet at scale.
Platform 3.0 represents maturing of TRI’s automated vehicle research. Experimentation has transitioned to narrowing in on a technology package with a more defined sensor configuration and level of performance that helps catapult proficiency in understanding the world around the car.
Platform 3.0 has a very sensor-rich package that makes it one of the most perceptive automated driving test cars on the road. The Luminar LIDAR system with 200 metre range, which had only tracked the forward direction on TRI’s previous test platform, now covers the vehicle’s complete 360 degree perimeter. This is enabled by four high-resolution LIDAR scanning heads, which precisely detect objects in the environment including notoriously difficult-to-see dark objects.
Shorter-range LIDAR sensors are positioned low on all four sides of the vehicle – one in each front quarter panel and one each on the front and rear bumpers. These can detect low-level and smaller objects near the car like children and debris in the roadway. The new platform remains flexible for incorporating future breakthrough technology as it becomes available.