Toyota is taking a smart approach to self-driving technology before putting cars on the market that you can’t depend on when you’re on the road.
If you’re among the many that feel self-driving technology is being used too widely with very little regulation, you might be glad to see that at least one company is going to test their self-driving technology at their own test facility that’s being built right now.
Expanded Use of Ride-Sharing Requires Technology
With the use of ride-sharing vehicles being used to test the various autonomous tech that’s been developed, the last thing we want to hear about is another crash that results in a death, which makes it important to begin to test these vehicles and systems in a closed facility.
Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has announced a closed-course test facility that’s being built in the Ottawa Lake area of Michigan. Toyota is hoping this nearly 60-acre site will allow them to develop the technology needed and test some cases that aren’t part of regular programming in a way that won’t put lives in danger.
Toyota Works on Edge Cases
Toyota calls these situations “edge cases” and will look to see how their tech responds and what the programming will offer when these situations are encountered in the closed course before taking their vehicles out on the public roads to be used.
The Toyota Site Offers Needs
This new facility will be constructed inside the Michigan Technical Resource Park which already offers a 1.75-mile oval test track. This new facility will include congested urban environments, slick surfaces, four-lane divided highways with high-speed entrance and exit ramps, and much more. The Toyota team will also have access to the oval track and other services offered at this facility to test and create the safest possible autonomous technology to help make sure the vehicles built to drive on their own will be able to function appropriately when it’s time to get out on the road and drive.
Toyota Isn’t Jumping In with Both Feet
Building this new facility shows a responsibility by Toyota to take a step back from what feels like an open market for self-driving vehicles to be tested. While most states have required drivers to be in the car while on the road during testing, we’ve already seen evidence that these drivers can become distracted and take their attention off the task at hand. By testing a variety of situations and looking for more opportunities to make sure a vehicle can be safe on the road and react to all the potential dangers, Toyota will take a huge leap forward in the development of their self-driving technology.
Proper Testing Makes Sense
The new facility being built by TRI will be in operation as early as October and allow the team to test as often or as thoroughly as necessary. The challenge for vehicles on public roads is the fact that some of these “edge cases” may only be experienced once in a while or not at all. At the Toyota facility, a dangerous or questionable situation can safely be replicated and tested hundreds and thousands of times to give the data needed for the programming to be right before being offered on public roads where the dangers are real.
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