Toyota to Start AV Testing in Europe

Toyota has chosen the seat of the European Union to begin testing its autonomous technology on continental public highways.

It will begin its automated driving (AD) program trialing its in-house developed systems around the streets of Brussels. For the next 13 months, a Lexus LS will make repeated journeys around a fixed route in the Belgian capital. This program follows simulations and trials on closed circuits and previous public road tests in Japan and the US.

The test mule is a modified road legal model that has been fitted with a roof-mounted array of sensors, including top-draw spinning LiDAR (known to cost around $75,000 a pop), cameras and a high-precision positioning system. A safety driver will also be accompanied by an operator who will supervise the car’s systems. It will feature a Guardian mode which constantly monitors the human’s driving task, intervening only when necessary, and Chauffeur mode where the technology takes all responsibility for driving.

The program is part of the European L3Pilot project, expected to last around four years and

is partly funded by the European Commission3. The project hopes to pave the way for large-scale AD field testing of around 100 cars and 1,000 drivers across 10 European countries.

Gerard Killmann, Toyota Motor Europe, vice-president research and development, said: “Toyota’s ultimate goal is zero casualties from traffic accidents and the main goal of this pilot is to study complex and unpredictable human behavior and its impact on automated driving system requirements.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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