Demonstration run of the automated driving test vehicle Highway Teammate

Toyota tests Highway Teammate on Shuto Expressway, shows off a variety of automated functions

With the aim of launching related products by 2020, Toyota has been testing a new automated driving test vehicle called the Highway Teammate, which demonstrates a variety of automated functions, including merging onto or exiting highways, and maintaining or changing lanes.

The Highway Teammate, a modified Lexus GS, is an automated driving test vehicle. To engage automated operation, the driver will switch to automated driving after passing through the toll gate. Using a highly accurate road map data, the Highway Teammate is able to pinpoint its position. Furthermore, it uses multiple external sensors to detect nearby vehicles and hazards, and selects appropriate routes and lanes depending on the destination.

Based on the data entered, the Highway Teammate will automatically operate the steering wheel, accelerator, and brakes to achieve the appropriate speed and driving lines just like how an actual person would drive the car. This enables the car to safely and smoothly merge onto or exit highways, maintain or change lanes, and maintain inter-vehicle distances.

The Highway Teammate has three important processes that allow it to achieve safe and smooth automated driving: advanced recognition, judgement, and operation. Toyota believes that mobility should mean safety, efficiency, and freedom. Hence, they are bolstering their research and development of automated driving, with the aim of launching related products based on the Highway Teammate by 2020.

Toyota has been researching and developing automated driving technologies, and they have named it ‘Mobility Teammate Concept,’ a name that will be used widely in the future. The Mobility Teammate Concept refers to Toyota’s approach to automated driving: building relationships between people and cars that share the same purpose, like close friends who sometimes watch over and, at times, help each other out. The Highway Teammate is the first embodiment of this concept.

(Translated by Katherine N. Bantiles)