Toyota is planning a huge trial of connected vehicles in the technology test bed of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Electronic Design website says the “enormous scale of the tests could help automakers and regulators understand how cars might share information to make driving safer”.
It explains how the experiment will use 5,000 volunteer drivers to turn the city into a huge testing ground for connected vehicles and infrastructure. “Autonomous vehicles will have to be connected to each other and infrastructure like traffic lights before they can reach the masses,” the report says. “By sharing position data with other cars on the road and the surrounding infrastructure, these connected vehicles could avoid accidents with greater sensitivity or prevent distracted drivers from running red lights. These are also connected to the internet, giving drivers access to services that they might expect from a smartphone.”
Drivers who agree to participate in the experiment will install a small data-collection device in their boot, while placing an antenna near the windscreen and another antenna on the boot lid. The device will constantly exchange speed and position data with other cars in the experiment and research equipment on certain roads and intersections.
The report continues saying that drivers are not instructed to take specific routes, as the researchers are trying to monitor everyday driving situations. The test results could assist Toyota to develop new technologies like automated braking and lane changes, which make driving safer for human rather than taking their hands off the wheel.
“The current limitation of connected vehicle testing outside of closed circuit test tracks is the lack of connected vehicles,” the company said in a statement. “In order to move autonomous driving toward reality, testing requires more cars, more drivers, and more day-to-day miles traveled than any combination of research facilities could support.”