The next-generation workhorse derived from all-new Lexus LS 500h joins the automated test fleet in the spring of 2019. It will be showcased at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the first auto show of the year. This technology accelerates the Toyota Guardian and Chauffeur Automated System Development.
LOS ALTOS, California, Jan. 3, 2019 – Next week, Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will introduce the TRI-P4 automated driving test at Consumer Electronics Show (CES), showcasing the advancements in the autonomous world.
What is a P4?
The Platform-4 (P4) is based on the all-new fifth-generation Lexus LS flagship sedan and is incorporated in TRI’s two-track Guardian and Chauffeur automated driving system development.
“Our Chauffeur development is focused on full autonomy, where the human is essentially removed from the driving equation, either completely in all environments, or within a restricted driving domain,” said Ryan Eustice, senior vice president of automated driving at TRI.
“Guardian, on the other hand, is being designed to amplify human performance behind the wheel, not replace it. The introduction of the new P4 platform will help us accelerate the development of both tracks when it joins our fleet this spring.”
The P4 benefits from Lexus’ design and technology. Lexus provides greater agility in the new generation of chassis and steering control technology and allows for greater response and smoother driving during automated driving.
P4 adds two more cameras that improve situational awareness on the sides of the car. There are also two new imaging sensors – one facing to the rear and one in the front forward facing. These cameras are specifically designed to work with autonomous vehicles. The imaging sensors showcase a new chip technology with high dynamic vision range. TRI has added a radar system optimized to improve the field of view, especially for close range detection of objects around the vehicle perimeter.
The LIDAR sensing system has eight scanning heads, the same as the previous test model, Platform 3.0 (P3). With greater computing power, the P4 systems can operate more machine learning algorithms than its predecessor in parallel for faster learning. P4 is a much smarter research vehicle and can process sensor inputs faster which allows it to react more quickly to its surrounding environment. The computing system power is drawn from the vehicle’s hybrid battery so the 12-volt battery now serves as a backup.
The computer box in the trunk serves as the “brains” of the automated driving system. It was has reimagined for P4. It is now situated against the rear seat transom. It can be folded down to access the circuitry. This placement frees up the entire floor of the trunk for hauling cargo.
CALTY Design Research has been hired by Toyota Research Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan to create the styling.
“We took a holistic approach to integrating autonomous componentry into the design of the new LS,” said Scott Roller, senior lead designer at CALTY Design Research. “The result is a fluid surface embracing advanced technology loosely inspired by science fiction in the graphic separations between form and function.”
Toyota Motor North America, Inc research and development’s Prototype Development Center in York Township., Mich. will start fabricating P4 vehicles from stock models this spring.