The Toyota Research Institute (TRI), the group within Toyota responsible for developing automated driving systems, signed a deal with Michigan Technical Resource Park (MITRP), a Michigan Automotive Proving Ground, to lease approximately 60-acres inside MITRP’s 1.75-mile concrete oval.
The oval is part of MITRP’s 332-acre testing ground includes on-road and off-road vehicle testing courses. TRI will set up a dedicated facility onsite to test automated driving. The vehicle course will feature areas designed to replicate dense urban environments, a variety of road surfaces, and extensive highway interchanges. Toyota also has access to MITRP’s 113, 000 sq. ft. technical and research facility, including labs, test cells, and manufacturing space.
“We are rapidly accelerating our pace in advancing Toyota’s automated driving capabilities with a vision of saving lives, expanding access to mobility, and making driving more fun and convenient.” – Gill Pratt, CEO
MITRP is located in Southeast Michigan, practically on the Ohio border. The close proximity of MITRP’s location to multiple Toyota testing centers has raised questions.
MITRP is located 45 minutes south of TRI’s Ann Arbor offices and two technical centers. The TRI office is approximately 10 minutes from the American Center for Mobility (ACM) and MCity, two other Michigan-based vehicle testing facilities designed to evaluate automated vehicles.
TRI spokesman Rick Bourgoise explained, “The existing test track gives us the ability to come in and construct on a greenfield inside the track’s oval.”
Toyota’s facilities in Ann Arbor and other Michigan locations are useful to Toyota, but time is limited. Alternately, TRI engineers and researchers have exclusive use of MITRP’s facilities and virtually unlimited access.
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