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Toyota Research Institute

Toyota's autonomous testing will soon get 'extreme'

It's partnered with GoMentum Station to test situations deemed too intense for public roads.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of testing your autonomous car, but the stuff you need to do isn't exactly safe for public roads, where do you turn? Toyota had this same question, which it's answered with a new partnership.

The Toyota Research Institute announced Monday that it signed an agreement with GoMentum Station in Concord, Calif. The agreement will allow the automaker to test its two-stage autonomous system on GoMentum's 5,000-acre proving ground, which exists specifically for testing connected and autonomous vehicles.

Some self-driving cars are nearly indistinguishable from standard ones. This one... isn't.

Toyota Research Institute

GoMentum's proving ground offers plenty for an autonomous car to tackloe, including bridges, tunnels, intersections and different types of terrain. The whole point is to create a playground for dabbling in the kinds of situations that could be dangerous to try on the open road with the general public milling about. Toyota can now conduct research in the relative safety of GoMentum Station.

"The addition of GoMentum Station to TRI's arsenal of automated vehicle test locations allows us to create hazardous driving scenarios for advancing capabilities of both Guardian and Chauffeur and further develop our technology," said Ryan Eustice, VP of autonomous driving at Toyota Research Institute, in a statement.

Toyota's current autonomous system carries the ho-hum name Platform 2.1. The system has two distinct modes: Chauffeur is for the driven, offering full autonomy, whereas Guardian is for the drivers, only stepping in when it's deemed absolutely necessary. Platform 2.1 is currently installed on a previous-generation Lexus LS sedan.