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Toyota tests autonomous tech with two steering wheel mule

Toyota tests autonomous tech with two steering wheel mule image

Jose Altoveros / Toyota Research Institute | October 04, 2017 11:48

Toyota shows progress in autonomous driving technology with new test mule

With reports of Toyota planning to display a fleet of autonomous vehicles at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it seems that the Japanese automaker is hard at work to make it happen. To show their recent advancements in autonomous driving technology, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has used their Platform 2.1 test mule, which now sports more sensors and two-steering wheels, to demonstrate it.

"In the last few months, we have rapidly accelerated our pace in advancing Toyota's automated driving capabilities with a vision of saving lives, expanding access to mobility, and making driving more fun and convenient. Our research teams have also been evolving machine intelligence that can support further development of robots for in-home support of people." said Dr. Gill Pratt, CEO of TRI.

Apart from the new sensors and improved LIDAR, the new Platform 2.1 also features two new modes of autonomous driving – Guardian and Chauffer. Starting with the latter, Chauffer mode refers to the vehicle capable to driving it self. Using a wide array of sensors and cameras, Chauffer is essentially Toyota's version of SAE Level 4/5 autonomy.

 Toyota tests autonomous tech with two steering wheel mule

Meanwhile, Guardian mode refers to the autonmous system working hand-in-hand with the driver. The driver still maintains direct control of the vehicle, while the autonomous systems monitors the road. Depending on the situation such as the driver falling asleep, the system takes over and avoids hitting and obstructions on the road. This coincides with Toyota's idea of driver and autonomy going together rather than solely having self-driving vehicle. 

Toyota tests autonomous tech with two steering wheel mule

To be able to test the system on public road, TRI has also installed controls on both the driver and passenger side as most governments require a human being to take control of the autonomous vehicle. This setup allows a tester to monitor the autonomous system while another can easily take over control should the need arises.

In order to see Toyota's autonomous system in place, we will have to wait until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics once it is fully developed. For now, watch Toyota's demonstration in the video above to see how far their autonmous tech has come.