Toyota Research Institute, the American branch of one of the largest automakers in the world, introduced the latest version of its test unmanned vehicle. The basis is the LS 600hL model, equipped with the LIDAR system, radar, and several cameras. This car Toyota showed last year, but this time an improved version was presented, which in the research institute of the automaker calls "Platform 3.0". The car is going to be shown at the forthcoming international exhibition of consumer electronics CES-2018, which will very soon open its doors.
Perhaps the main feature of the improved model of an unmanned vehicle Toyota is its ability to "see" its environment much further, compared with the previous version. With Luminar's four distance sensors from Luminar installed on the roof of the car, the car is now capable of scanning everything around 200 meters, which, according to Toyota, makes it "one of the most astute test unmanned vehicles on the road."
For example, Velodyne's most powerful LIDAR system, the HDL-64E, is able to see in a radius of 120 meters, while its most widely used VLP-16 Puck system is able to see only 100 meters. By the way, to attract new customers and quickly integrate the technology into the market, Velodyne recently halved the cost of its VLP-16 system.
Externally self-governing "Lexus" also refreshed. Now the integration of the equipment necessary for the operation of the unmanned mode does not look as bright as it was with the previous version. Engineers at the Toyota Research Institute say that the car is due to its renewed appearance as a design studio Toyota CALTY Design Research, as well as specialists from the North American research and development department of the company:
"They created a new roof panel with protection against weather and temperature effects, significantly reducing the cumbersomeness of the entire system and very skillfully using the space inside the hatch. This made it possible in general to minimize the height of the system. "
Toyota is going to start production of "Platform 3.0" this spring. Part of the cars will be assembled with additional steering (as in the previous version).
Experts note that Toyota now like no one else should be interested in providing information about its progress in the development of unmanned vehicles. According to the latest report of the analytical company Navigant, the Japanese automaker is currently behind companies such as Ford, General Motors, Daimler and BMW, on the way to the release of the first truly full-fledged self-managed vehicles. Let's remind, that many motor-car manufacturers have put before themselves the purpose to let out unmanned cars by 2021. As noted by the portal The Verge, a new report Navigant should appear already this month, so it is very interesting how much Toyota could advance in the leaderboard.
In addition, various sources note that some big automakers have already signed agreements with the coolest and high-tech companies like Waymo, Uber and Lyft, so the process of adapting unmanned vehicles on public roads will have to happen even faster than expected. Unfortunately, for the same Toyota all this time, most of these transactions passed by it. But if the company does not stand still, then it will be able to bite off its share from the common pie, experts say.