Toyota unveils latest Lexus LS-based autonomous prototype

Toyota Research Institute is using the TRI-P4 prototype to develop its Guardian and Chauffeur technologies.

Toyota Research Institute has revealed its latest autonomous development prototype, the TRI-P4, based on the all-new Lexus LS 500h hybrid sedan.

The company will use the test platform to continue developing its 'Chauffeur' driving technology, which focuses on achieving fully autonomous operation. 'Guardian,' meanwhile, is designed to complement human performance rather than replace it.

The P4 is said to benefit from Lexus' latest generation of chassis and steering control tech, providing improved agility and enabling more responsive and smoother maneuvers while the computer is controlling the vehicle.

Engineers have added two additional cameras on the sides and two new imaging sensors, one facing forward and one pointing toward the rear. The expensive LIDAR scanning system is said to carry over from the previous test model with eight scanning heads.

Toyota says the P4 is a much 'smarter' research vehicle than the Platform 3.0 configuration, capable of running more machine learning algorithms in parallel for faster learning. All computing system power is now drawn directly from the vehicle's high-voltage hybrid battery, rather than relying on the much smaller 12V battery.

The TRI-P4 will make its formal debut at CES. Toyota's Michigan R&D center will begin fabricating the cars from stock models this spring.

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