Toyota is getting ready to lift the lid on its its next-generation automated driving research vehicle.

Based on the big Lexus LS 600h L, it features a full 360-degree, 200 metre protective radar perimeter around the car.

The protective field can detect low-level and smaller objects near the car, such as children or debris on the road.

It’s all made possible by four concealed high-resolution LIDAR scanning heads that can precisely detect objects around the vehicle, including notoriously difficult-to-see dark objects.

Shorter-range LIDAR sensors are positioned low down on all four sides of the vehicle: one in each front quarter panel and one each on the front and rear bumpers.

The icing on the cake is that the new platform has the flexibility to incorporate future breakthrough technology as it becomes available.

Toyota engaged the expertise of CALTY Design Research and engineers at Toyota Motor North America Research and Development (TMNA R&D) to create compact packaging and conceal the sensors and cameras.

The test vehicle also incorporates a new rooftop weather and temperature-proof panel, that cleverly uses space in the sunroof compartment to minimise overall height.

Thanks to this ingenious solution, the equipment no longer looks like an array of bolt-on parts.

The “spinning bucket” LIDAR sensor that has historically characterised autonomous test vehicles has been replaced.

CALTY has given the rooftop panel a confident image, inspired by the crash helmets of off-road motorcycle riders.

The forward area has a crisp, technical look that becomes more fluid and aerodynamic towards the rear of the vehicle, unifying with the car’s contour lines.

The panel is embellished with chrome trim along the side where it meets the roof line.

“Automotive designers’ roles have been pivoting towards thinking deeper and greater on how to design and apply automated driving technology for drivers and passengers,” Senior Lead Designer at CALTY Design Research, Scott Roller, said.

“It’s exciting to integrate the components in harmony with the car’s design.”

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will present the technology at this month’s CES consumer technology showcase in Las Vegas.

 

Toyota's techno tour de force

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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