Automated vehicles move one step closer

Aug 08 | 2019

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) is beginning automated driving (AD) on public roads in Europe.

After successful simulations and trials on closed circuits, TME is now taking its in-house developed AD systems to a real-life urban setting: the vibrant city centre of Brussels, Belgium. At the heart of the European institutions, a Lexus LS will repeatedly complete a fixed loop for the next 13 months.

“Toyota’s ultimate goal is zero casualties from traffic accidents, and the main goal of this pilot is to study complex and unpredictable human behaviour and its impact on automated driving system requirements,” said Gerard Killmann, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) Vice President Research and Development. “Responding to the complexity and diverse population of an urban environment like Brussels – the European capital and home to citizens of 184 different nationalities – is key to understanding human behaviour. After successful trials on public roads in Japan and the US, we are now adding European conditions to the technology’s understanding.”

The Lexus LS is a regular series production vehicle that will be driving on regular, open roads. The only difference is the roof mounted pack of sensors including LIDAR, radars, cameras and high precision positioning system. In the car, a Safety Driver - who can intervene and overrule the AD vehicle control system at any time - will be accompanied by an Operator supervising the entire system. Toyota is bringing this car to the open roads after months of thorough preparation of the vehicle: validating the AD system, training the drivers, analysing the route and engaging with authorities to acquire the necessary approvals.

The Lexus LS automatic vehicle on the streets of Brussels
Photo:  The Lexus LS automatic vehicle on the streets of Brussels