Toyota is accelerating the study of autonomous vehicles and connected automobile infrastructure by aiming to put as many as 5,000 ‘connected’ cars in Ann Arbor, Michigan making this experiment the ‘world’s largest operational, real-world deployment of connected vehicles and infrastructure.’

Toyota allots more resources to study autonomous driving

The program, called Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment (AACVTE), aims is to gather data on how connected vehicle safety technology can communicate wirelessly with other similarly equipped vehicles and road and traffic infrastructures such as traffic lights.

Spearheaded by Toyota and done in partnership with University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), this research breaks the current mold of connected car testing that happens in circuit test tracks only with a limited number of vehicles. By using more connected vehicles than ever before, more data on how connected vehicles behave in relation to one another and the infrastructure can be gathered and analyzed to make autonomous driving a reality.

Toyota has tapped its employees and their families to participate in the program by allowing their vehicles to be equipped with devices to support accelerated research and deployment of advanced Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V)/Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) systems. 

The goal is to have 5,000 vehicles operating with these small vehicle awareness devices installed in the trunk or rear area of the vehicle. It will continuously transmit data like speed and position relative to other equipped vehicles and information about the surrounding environment.

“Ann Arbor is an international hub for connected vehicle technology and research, and it has everything to do with the community. Toyota is again demonstrating their commitment to the community by their investment in the recently announced TRI, and by encouraging employees to participate in cutting edge research,” said James R. Sayer, director, UMTRI.

“We are thrilled to help UMTRI expand vehicle-to-vehicle testing well beyond the test track and on to the streets of Ann Arbor,” said Toyota Technical Center VP Wayne Powell.