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Toyota leapfrogs competition: Level 4 self driving due next summer

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced that its Platform 4 (P4) automated driving test vehicle will be available for public demonstration rides next summer in Tokyo. The P4 is based on a Lexus LS sedan. The P4 experience will take place in Tokyo’s Odaiba district, a busy and often congested waterfront subcenter. Odaiba’s complex environment of pedestrians, vehicle traffic, diverse road infrastructure, and tall glass buildings provide a challenging setting in which to demonstrate the capabilities of Toyota’s automated driving technology. The P4 will demonstrate Toyota’s “Chauffeur” SAE Level 4 capabilities.

Odaiba is a large artificial island constructed in Tokyo Bay across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo. It has man-made seashores in Tokyo Bay where the waterfront is accessible, and not blocked by industry and harbor areas.

“By challenging ourselves to successfully operate autonomously in Odaiba, we have set a high bar that requires us to rapidly expand the capabilities of our technology in a short amount of time,” TRI CEO Gill Pratt said in the press release.

Not surprising, the debut is set for July through September 2020, just in time for the Olympic Games when the entire world will be watching Tokyo and everything going on in it. Odaiba Marine Park will be the site of the triathlon and 10-kilometer marathon swimming events.

The P4 platform has also been testing at Toyota’s closed-course testing facility in Michigan and the 60-acre testing facility was built in Ottawa Lake. The TRI facility is inside of a 1.75-mile oval test track and includes congested urban environments, slick surfaces, and a four-lane divided highway with high-speed entrance and exit ramps. There, TRI replicated Odaiba’s most challenging infrastructure characteristics and driving scenarios for which the P4 will have to navigate autonomously. P4 testing is also happening around the TRI research offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Los Altos, California.

The Toyota Research Institute was established in 2015, it aims to strengthen Toyota’s research structure and develop active vehicle safety and automated driving technologies, robotics, and other human amplification technology. Its researchers are using artificial intelligence to benefit society and improve the human condition.

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