Toyota is no stranger to autonomous car tests. The company was one of the firsts to have adopted the Nvidia Drive PX platform, which is now pretty much the top standard for all ambitious autonomous projects. It was also among the first automobile companies to have spoken up about the safety of connected cars, and suggested blockchain as a way of enforcing better safety standards in connected cars.
Now, the Japanese automobile giant is aiming to step up its autonomous car testing procedures, which typically involve situations and circumstances that will be too risky and unsafe to be tried on public roads. The Toyota Research Institute has recently signed a partnership for this very effect with GoMentum Station in Concord, California, to use the 5,000-acre GoMentum proving ground. This ground was built only to put connected and autonomous cars through near-reality situations, and includes a web of intersections, tunnels, bridges and varying terrain to test elements like pedestrian detection, automatic steering across sharp bends, adaptive cruise control and automatic terrain and weather response systems.
Testing of autonomous cars on public roads have still remained to be a largely restricted affair, primarily out of the concern for pedestrians and real-world impacts. It is for this very reason that a simulated ground like GoMentum's may prove to be vital in refining the autonomous technologies. At present, Toyota's autonomous car technology runs on Platform 2.1 firmware, which offers two modes — Chauffeur and Guardian, for autonomous and assisted driving each. The firmware is equipped in a previous generation Lexus LS sedan, and will be used as a forebearer of the version that will be present in Toyotas of our future.