After it has just announced it will form a third US research lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Toyota said it would transform the site into a testing ground for autonomous cars.
Toyota opened in January an artificial intelligence centre in Palo Alto working with Stanford University, another one in Cambridge where it collaborates with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also announcing last week the third research lab in Ann Arbor, near the University of Michigan campus. The automaker is not losing any time in its goal of developing autonomous technologies, and said this week it would make its latest tech campus a global site for self-driving cars. In partnership with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the automaker is transforming the streets of Ann Arbor into the world’s largest operational, real-world deployment of connected vehicles and infrastructure. The goal is to deploy 5,000 cars fitted with connected safety technology that allows them to communicate wirelessly with other similarly equipped vehicles and with the infrastructure, such as traffic signals.
“The current limitation of connected vehicle testing outside of closed circuit test tracks is the lack of connected vehicles,” Toyota said. “In order to move autonomous driving toward reality, testing requires more cars, more drivers and more day-to-day miles travelled than any combination of research facilities could support.” The Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment aims to solve this problem. As part of its partnership with UMTRI, Toyota will invite team members and their families to participate to the program. Their cars will be equipped with a small smart box, hidden out of sight in the trunk or rear area, with two small antennas, that includes a vehicle-to-vehicle / vehicle-to-infrastructure tech.