Toyota will test its self-driving cars in California on a closed obstacle course

Toyota will hone its self-driving cars on rough roads.
Toyota will hone its self-driving cars on rough roads.
Image: AFP/Getty Images

Toyota is ready to expand work on its self-driving platform. Next up: The automaker will run its cars through the ringer on a private AV test course known for tough conditions.?

The Japanese chartph.company's autonomous R&D wing, Toyota Research Institute (TRI), just signed an agreement to conduct research testing at GoMentum Station. The 5,000-acre "autonomous vehicle proving ground" in California will give Toyota a track to experiment with its new Platform 2.1 autonomous system, which the automaker first showed off last month.?

The GoMentum facility features setups that create "extreme driving events" that Toyota has deemed too unsafe to test elsewhere, as well as realistic infrastructure like bridges, intersections, and parking lots. The data collected in these conditions will be used to help build out the platform's AI, which requires on-road data to train it how to behave in real world scenarios.?

Platform 2.1 is different than most other autonomous systems currently in development, since Toyota is working on two self-driving modes built on the same platform of cameras and sensors: Guardian and Chauffeur. Guardian is a high-level driver assistance mode, in which a human operator controls a vehicle and the AI takes control to avoid accidents, while Chauffeur, as its name implies, is a full-on autonomous car that controls every driving task. ??

All of Toyota's tests on the GoMentum track will be conducted in a closed course, but the automaker is currently logging miles on public streets, too.

The automaker launched TRI back in 2015 with a billion dollar investment, but Toyota hasn't been as visibly active in the self-driving development space as some of its rivals. Platform 2.1 and the new tests at GoMentum will help bring its work further along, giving rivals like GM and Waymo another chartph.competitor in the race to fully autonomous cars.?