Toyota announced today that it will build a gigantic 60-acre facility in Michigan to test "extreme case" driving scenarios with its autonomous vehicles that are too dangerous to operate on public roads. The news comes more than a month after the Japanese car giant stopped its tests of autonomous driving on US public roads. UU Following a fatal accident in which an autonomous Uber was traveling in Arizona.
This week construction permits were submitted to Transforme a site of approximately 60 acres at the Michigan Technical Resource Park in Ottawa Lake in a closed course facility for the Toyota Research Institute, the Silicon Valley arm of the automotive company , to test their vehicles. The site will include congested urban environments, slippery surfaces and a four-lane divided highway with high-speed entrance and exit ramps. When it becomes operational this October, the company will use the site to specifically test scenarios that are considered too risky for public roads, most likely with vehicles without a human driver.
Still, Toyota has not yet resumed public testing of its driverless cars since it put the program on hold in March, but has continued to test closed-course facilities, a spokesperson said. "Our pause in testing on public roads in California and Michigan has allowed us to refine and improve our fleet of Platform 2.0 / 2.1 test vehicles, in line with the ongoing construction of the Platform 3.0 fleet, presented at this year's CES. in Las Vegas, "the spokesman said. "We're going to resume testing on public roads in a few weeks, once these three systems have been more closely aligned, it's important to keep in mind that our closed-field tests did not stop during this time."
Test centers are increasingly popular among automotive and technology companies to subject their vehicles to structured testing without having to worry about unpredictable environments. Waymo has its own testing ground at Castle, in central California, while Uber tests its vehicles at a private location in Pittsburgh.
Previously, Toyota had been testing its vehicles at the GoMentum station in California, which also use Honda and Lyft. That site is one of 10 officially designated autonomous vehicle test fields identified by the US Department of Transportation. UU In 2017 to help establish the direction of the policy making and testing procedures in the future. It has about 20 miles of paved roads and a group of barracks and buildings that provide an urban environment. But Toyota clearly wanted to establish its own safe location where it could test its cars away from the prying eyes of its competitors.
Toyota Research Institute has been conducting road tests of the latest version of its autonomous vehicles in California and Michigan since the beginning of the year. Toyota has also been in talks with Uber about buying the ride-hail company's autonomous driving software before the fatal accident.