CARS

Toyota to use new self-driving car test track to simulate risky emergency maneuvers

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Toyota said Thursday that it plans to open a self-driving car test facility outside Detroit to reproduce scenarios that too risky to execute on public roads.

The 60-acre Toyota Research Institute-run site, scheduled to open in October, will simulate  “congested urban environments, slick surfaces and a four-lane divided highway with high-speed entrance and exit ramps.”

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The facility is planned for the Michigan Technical Resource Park in Ottawa Lake, near the Michigan-Ohio border about 35 miles south of the automaker’s technical center in Ann Arbor. It will complement Toyota’s other self-driving car development sites in California and Michigan.

“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,” Ryan Eustice, TRI senior vice president of automated driving, said in a statement. “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.”

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The 50-year-old track belongs to the Michigan Technical Resource Park and was previously used by auto supplier Dana Corporation for testing. Currently, its main tenant FCA uses it to store vehicles.

TRI will design and maintain the facility inside the 1.75-mile oval test track and will have access to other on-site facilities and services that MITRP offers all its customers. MITRP will maintain responsibility for the oval itself and everything outside of the oval infield, Toyota said.  

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