Integrating tech more “harmoniously.”
Japanese automotive giant Toyota will be bringing a new autonomous research vehicle to this years’ Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, in the form of a heavily-revised and reworked Lexus LS 600hL. The new system is called Platform 3.0, and features heavily improved technological capabilities integrated into a more natural and harmonious design.
A more defined arrangement of sensors, and increased performance means that Platform 3.0 is capable of understanding its surroundings better than previous iterations. Toyota Research Institute, the subsidiary research company responsible for Platform 3.0, claims that the kitted-out LS is one of the most perceptive automated driving test cars on the road today.
“Our team has once again rapidly advanced our automated vehicle research capabilities. To elevate our test platform to a new level, we tapped Toyota’s design and engineering expertise to create an all-new platform that has the potential to be a benchmark in function and style.” — Dr. Gill Pratt, CEO, Toyota Research Institute
The new autonomous sensors consist of Luminar LIDAR units that can scan up to 200m ahead of the vehicle, that are fitted in such a way that it can now see all around the car. These provide precise object detection regardless of the condition. These are supplemented by short-range LIDAR sensors fitted on the front and rear bumpers, as well as the front fenders. According to the company, these will detect low-lying objects and even children, as well as debris.
The packaging of thee systems has also been a priority to TRI, which is why the full gamut of systems have been integrated in a far more streamlined package. TRI worked together with Calty Design Research and Toyota Motor North America engineers to better integrate all the cameras and sensors into more compact housings, and integrate weather and temperature resistant panels to keep everything safe.
Apparently designed to mimic the helmet of an off-road bike, the bluff, upright front leads to a more fluidic and flowing design that tapers to the rear. There’s even chrome strips integrated into the design, where the housing meets the roofline, to help the system look less of an aftermarket addition than it used to.
Platform 3.0 will be produced in very small scales at Toyota Motor North America’s facility in Michigan, utilising old-stock Lexus LS models. Two test vehicles have been planned thus far, one utilising a single-cockpit design (like a normal car), and another using a dual-cockpit design to allow for more seamless handover from autonomous driving to manual driving.