Photo courtesy of Toyota.

Photo courtesy of Toyota.

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) publicly tested its 2.0 generation advanced safety research vehicle that will be used to explore a full range of autonomous driving capabilities.

The system was tested at the automaker’s recent Prius Challenge event in Sonoma, Calif. It is computationally rich, focusing heavily on machine vision and machine learning, according to the automaker. The layered and overlapping LIDAR, radar and camera sensor array reduce the need to depend too heavily on high-definition maps. It is built on a current generation Lexus LS 600hL.   

“This new advanced safety research vehicle is the first autonomous testing platform developed entirely by TRI, and reflects the rapid progress of our autonomous driving program,” said TRI CEO Gill Pratt.

The platform is the second generation of the advanced safety research vehicle revealed to the public by Toyota. The 2.0 is designed to be a flexible, plug-and-play test platform that can be upgraded continuously and often, according to the automaker. Its technology stack will be used to develop both of TRI’s core research paths: Chauffeur and Guardian systems.   

Chauffeur refers to the always deployed, fully autonomous system classified by SAE as unrestricted Level 5 autonomy and Level 4 restricted and geo-fenced operation.  Meanwhile, Guardian is a high-level driver assist system, constantly monitoring the driving environment inside and outside the vehicle, ready to alert the driver of potential dangers and stepping in when needed to assist in crash avoidance, according to the automaker.