Toyota Research Institute Rolls Out First Autonomous Car: A Lexus LS 600hL

Mar 05, 2017 11:18 AM EST | Yen Palec

The Toyota Research Institute recently unveiled its firsts self-driving car. It is a Lexus LS 600hL model which is equipped with radar systems, LIDAR, and camera arrays which help the car navigate the road without relying heavily on high-definition maps which some autonomous driving systems usually do.

The Toyota Research Institute has two self-driving research paths and these are called Chauffeur and Guardian. The Guardian path tackles research and development in terms of a driver-assist system which can monitor the environment around the car and alert drivers of potential hazards prompting them to step in and make necessary steps to avoid a crash, according to The Verge.

On the other hand, Chauffer is a research into Level 4 self-driving technologies which restricts the car into certain geographical locations and areas. The chauffeur is also working on Level 5 autonomous driving technologies which will allow the car to go almost anywhere.

"Basically, it is a smart vehicle designed to get smarter over time," Toyota Research Institute chief executive officer Gill Prat said in a statement acquired by Yahoo. "It will learn individual driver habits and abilities and will benefit from shared intelligence from other cars as data gathering, sharing and connectivity technologies advance."

Toyota said that the Guardian research will most probably be deployed first compared to the research done by the Chauffer project. Safety features like Automatic Emergency Braking, which is similar to the research done by Guardian, are also receiving massive adoption rates.

The self-driving Lexus LS 600hL test vehicle is just a part of Toyota's billion-dollar investment into the Toyota Research Institute. The Institute has a headquarters in California, near Stanford. It is also gas satellite facilities located near the MIT campus in Massachusetts and the University of Michigan located in Ann Arbor.

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