2019 Toyota Avalon Completed Part Of Its Testing Autonomously

Pothole season is well underway and Toyota has provided a glimpse at how they test their vehicles to cope with these familiar road hazards.

As part of the company’s “rough road durability” testing, US-spec models are subjected to a specially designed course which is located in Michigan. While many courses are designed to test a car’s handling and performance, this is a mini highway to hell as it features purpose-built “potholes, dips and other defects.” Engineers used to have to drive over these imperfections repeatedly but, thanks to advances in technology, this is no longer necessary.

The 2019 Avalon was the company’s first vehicle to complete the tests without a human driver as engineers installed an assortment of computers, actuators and other components to enable the car drive itself. Toyota suggests this wasn’t exactly a high-tech process as the team didn’t use any cameras, sensors or radar systems. Instead, they used “GPS-guided path control” which has an accuracy of 2cm (0.78 inches).

The automated testing was a resounding success as Toyota says the car was able to stay on course more consistently. The technology also allowed the tests to be completed much quicker than before as the company used to swap out human drivers every 30-40 minutes.

According to Avalon chief engineer Randy Stephens, “This not only saved the engineers and technicians from having to endure the grueling ride, it also provided a more accurate test cycle.” Stephens went on to say “The system was proven during Avalon development and we plan to use it during all future North American vehicle development cycles.”

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  • Six_Tymes

    back when the horse and buggy were around, at the time when cars were just starting to be experimented with, lots of folks said the same thing as you are saying now. the fact is, autonomous is “the way of the future”. Its just further than you can imagine, or see. I am younger than you, but not by much, and I personally love driving cars and have owned many cheap thrill rides back in the day. A 944 turbos S to name one, and yet I cant wait for autonomous. Mostly because i am tired of the idiot drivers around me, its stressful. if there were half the amount of cars on the road today as there were when i was 25 for example, I don’t think “the push for autonomous” would be happening, not now anyway. But at this point in time, its gotten to where its Needed, and that is the why “the push” is on. That, and of course car companies also see autonomous as another avenue to stay in business, which is a good thing. But its not one way or the other, its for both reasons as to why its happening now. Of course there are other reasons, such as the technology is finally available, but that came about more so because of demand. I cant wait for level 5+!!! and still own maybe a used old sports car for weekend drives.

  • Liam Paul

    if you don’t want to drive, why buy a car, just take the train or Bus. As a guy who loves to drive, I will never understand why anyone would want a feature like this in general, if your not a car person and dont want to drive, take a bus or train, airplane…

    • brn

      If there’s a train or bus going where you want to go, when you want to go there. For many of us, that’s rarely the case.

    • MultiKdizzle

      Because a car is incredibly more convenient and accessible as compared to public transit. This is true in all but a select handful of cities; NYC, Hong Kong, Beijing, London, Paris, etc.