It’s based on the Lexus LS and will help Toyota develop two distinct autonomous driving systems.
In less than two weeks, the 2019 Detroit Auto Show will be opening its doors, where we’ll get to see some hotly anticipated new models make their world debuts such as the new Toyota Supra and Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. But this isn’t the only show to get excited this month about because the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is just around the corner, where automakers will be showcasing the latest developments in automotive technology.
After showcasing its Platform 3.0 at last year’s show, Toyota will introduce its latest self-driving test vehicle called the TRI-P4. It’s is based on the all-new Lexus LS flagship and will join Toyota’s self-driving test program in the spring to help develop two new self-driving modes called Guardian and Chauffeur.
Toyota says it chose the Lexus LS due to its new generation chassis and steering control technology, which provides "greater agility and allows for more responsive and smoother maneuvers during automated driving.”
As the name suggests, the Chauffeur mode is fully autonomous and essentially removes the human from the driving equation. Toyota says this could occur either in all environments or "within a restricted driving domain.” Guardian mode, however, is aimed at driving enthusiasts and is "designed to amplify human performance behind the wheel, not replace it.”
Compared to last year’s prototype, the P4 has two additional cameras to improve situational awareness on the sides and two new imaging sensors specifically designed for autonomous vehicles, with one facing forward and one pointed to the rear. The imaging sensors feature new chip technology with high dynamic range, while the radar system has an improved field of view for better close-range detection. Like the last prototype, it also has a LIDAR sensing system with eight scanning heads.
Toyota says the P4 is a much smarter research vehicle than its predecessor, thanks to its greater computing power that enables the system to process inputs faster, react to the surrounding environment more quickly, and "operate more machine learning algorithms in parallel for faster learning.” All computing system power is now drawn from the car’s hybrid battery, with the 12v battery now serving only as a backup.
The P4 will make its public debut at CES during Toyota’s press conference at 1:00 pm Pacific time on January 7, where more information will be revealed about the Guardian autonomous driving system.