Toyota Will Test Its Self-driving Cars on a Closed Obstacle Course in California

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), the autonomous R&D wing of the Japanese company, just signed an agreement to administer research testing at GoMentum Station. The 5,000-acre “autonomous vehicle proving ground” that is located in California will provide Toyota with a track to experiment with the automaker’s new Platform 2.1 autonomous system, which the company first showed off in September.

The facility of GoMentum features setups that create “extreme driving events” that Toyota has considered too unsafe to test somewhere else, as well as realistic infrastructure-like bridges, parking lots, and intersections. The data gathered in these conditions will be utilised to help build out the AI of the platform, which needs on-road data to train it on how to behave in real-world scenarios.

Platform 2.1 is different than the majority of other autonomous systems that are currently in development since Toyota is developing two self-driving modes that are built on the same platform of sensors and cameras: Chauffeur and Guardian. Guardian is a high-level driver assistance mode, in which a human operator commands a vehicle and the AI takes control to avoid accidents, while Chauffeur, as the name implies, is a full-on independent car that controls each driving task.

All of the tests of Toyota on the GoMentum track will be administered in a closed course. However, currently, the automaker also is logging miles on public streets.

Back in 2015, the automaker launched TRI with a billion dollar investment. However, Toyota has not been as visibly active in the self-driving development space compared to some of its rivals. Platform 2.1 and the new tests at GoMentum will help bring the automaker’s work further along, giving rivals like Waymo and GM another competitor in the race to completely autonomous cars.