Japanese automotive behemoth Toyota present yet another design for its autonomous cars. So far the most advanced self-driving technologies and their integrated designs such as Waymo are dominated by the LiDAR domes on top of the car. The Palo Alto-based subsidiary Toyota Research Institute presented a bit more fluid design without the large dome. This design seems to be building on the design presented a year ago in January 2018.
The TRI-P4 prototype is based on a Lexus LS 400 hybrid vehicle and includes even thermal cameras. Those are to my knowledge the first cases of where such cameras are used in developing autonomous vehicles. The flat box on top of the roof and at the side of the car contains cameras, LiDARs in various forms, and radar The high powered computer is integrated behind the back seats in the trunk.
Toyota wants to operate a fleet of self-driving cars for shuttle services at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. But while Waymo’s fleet in Mountain View and Palo Alto is busy collecting miles – and this includes the area around the Toyota Research Institute – Toyota’s cars are almost non-present. And if you see one, then it’s parked.
Maybe Toyota should refocus their priorities on developing the autonomous technology first, instead of presenting one new design after the other, which is not going to go into production, or even a fleet of test vehicles.
This article was also published in German.