The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has filed construction permits for a 60-acre site at Michigan Technical Resource Park (MITRP) in Ottawa Lake. TRI is planning a closed-course test facility for the development of autonomous vehicle technology. If all goes according to schedule, it will open in October.
“By constructing a course for ourselves, we can design it around our unique testing needs and rapidly advance capabilities, especially with the Toyota Guardian automated vehicle mode,” explained Ryan Eustice, TRI Senior Vice President of Automated Driving.
The TRI facility will reside inside MITRP’s 1.75-mile oval test track. It will include congested urban environments, slick surfaces, and a four-lane divided highway with high-speed entrance and exit ramps. The idea is to replicate “edge case” scenarios, or situations still too dangerous to attempt on public roads.
“This new site will give us the flexibility to customize driving scenarios that will push the limits of our technology and move us closer to conceiving a human-driven vehicle that is incapable of causing a crash,” Eustice added.
Officials say this new site expands TRI’s testing capabilities and builds on partnerships with GoMentum Station in California, Mcity, and the American Center for Mobility in Michigan. TRI is leasing the land from MITRP and will be responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of the facility.
“We are very excited about the partnership with TRI,” said Mike Jones, President of MITRP. “We believe that this relationship will be a proven winner.”
Research & Development
The MITRP site has been a vehicle proving ground since 1968 and was sold in 2010 to a private developer. The 336-acre technology park is now available to automotive, commercial, and mobile off-highway vehicle manufacturers and suppliers for testing, engineering, and technology development.