Toyota has announced that starting next summer in Japan, its Platform 4 (P4) automated driving test vehicle will begin offering rides to passengers. The rides in the autonomous car will be offered from July to September 2020. The P4 vehicle will demonstrate the Toyota SAE Level-4 capabilities in a mobility as a service driving environment.
The autonomous rides will be offered in the Tokyo Odaiba district, which is a busy and congested waterfront area. The environment is a complex one with pedestrians, traffic jams, and a diverse road infrastructure and tall glass buildings. To use the cars, customers will need to register, and Toyota will select individuals to use the service.
To be in accordance with Japanese law, the vehicles will have a safety driver behind the wheel. Toyota has been testing the P4 in the States at a closed-course facility in Ottawa Lake, Michigan. The automaker says that it replicated the most challenging infrastructure characteristics and driving scenarios of Odaiba.
Testing of the software used by the vehicle is ongoing and is being conducted in Japan, Las Altos, California, and in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The P4 test vehicle is based on a Lexus LS sedan. The vehicle was introduced at CES 2019 and is being used in the development of the “Toyota Guardian” active safety system and a Chauffeur automated driving research.
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“By challenging ourselves to successfully operate autonomously in Odaiba, we have set a high bar that requires us to rapidly expand the capabilities of our technology in a short amount of time,” said TRI CEO Gill Pratt. “To accomplish that, we are working closely with the Advanced R&D Division of Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) based in Tokyo, who is responsible for bringing the P4’s automated driving software to the public.”