Autonomous testing is taking off around the country, and Michigan is not missing out on the action. Notably, the University of Michigan has its MCity testing grounds, while another self-driving test facility, the American Center for Mobility, has broken ground at the historic former Willow Run manufacturing site. Now Toyota will have its own autonomous testing facility in southeastern Michigan, near Toledo, Ohio. Today, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has announced it will open a 60-acre testing site at the Michigan Technical Resource Park in Ottawa Lake.
The automated driving facility will be built within the existing 1.75-mile oval track, to which TRI will also have access. Research will primarily focus on re-creating “edge case” scenarios, which will push autonomous driving systems to their limits in ways that would be too hazardous for testing on public roads. It will replicate highway on- and off-ramps, four-lane highways, city traffic and slick surfaces
“By constructing a course for ourselves, we can design it around our unique testing needs and rapidly advance capabilities, especially with Toyota Guardian automated vehicle mode,” said TRI senior VP of automated driving Ryan Eustice. “This new site will give us the flexibility to customize driving scenarios that will push the limits of our technology and move us closer to conceiving a human-driven vehicle that is incapable of causing a crash.”
TRI’s automated vehicle test facility is expected to open in October.