Toyota is getting ready to test its latest automated driving vehicle, the TRI-P4, based on the fifth generation Lexus LS flagship, debuting it at the upcoming CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
Developed by Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and benefiting from Lexus’s new generation of chassis and steering control, the P4 will help accelerate Toyota’s 2-track Guardian and Chauffeur automated driving system. Guardian enhances driver performance; Chauffeur takes the driver out of the equation.
“Our Chauffeur development is focused on full autonomy, where the human is essentially removed from the driving equation, either completely in all environments, or within a restricted driving domain,” said Ryan Eustice, senior vice president of automated driving at TRI. “Guardian, on the other hand, is being designed to amplify human performance behind the wheel, not replace it. The introduction of the new P4 platform will help us accelerate the development of both tracks when it joins our fleet this spring.”
P4 adds to new cameras on the front fenders, as well as two new imaging sensors (one facing forward and one rearward) to improve situational awareness in relation to the real world and to other road users. The sensors feature new chip technology. The radar system has improved field of view, especially in close proximity to the vehicle. The LIDAR system carries over from the previous platform.
The car features greater computer processing power, allowing its systems to operate more machine learning algorithms simultaneously, meaning it can process sensor information faster and react more quickly to its driving environment. The computing power is also drawn from LS 500h’s hybrid battery (with the 12V battery serving as backup).
Physically, the computer box in the trunk is relocated against the rear seatbacks, allowing it to fold down when circuitry needs to be accessed, while infringing as little as possible on cargo carrying ability.
“We took a holistic approach to integrating autonomous componentry into the design of the new LS,” said Scott Roller, senior lead designer at CALTY Design Research. “The result is a fluid surface embracing advanced technology loosely inspired by science fiction in the graphic separations between form and function.”
Following its debut at CES 2019, the car will travel to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.