2019 Toyota Avalon Automated Self Driving Durability Testing
The human touch is key during Toyota’s vehicle development process- especially when fine-tuning ride handling, comfort, and other sensory aspects. There are a few times during development, however, when that hands-on, human touch isn’t always the best solution. That’s why Toyota is using automated vehicle technology during an evaluation of new vehicles known as rough-road durability testing.
Rough road durability testing for Toyota’s North American vehicles is conducted on a course in Michigan that the company specifically engineered with potholes, dips and other defects precisely placed along the track surface. These conditions inflict all the road-induced punishment that the average vehicle encounters during its lifetime into a single, bone-jarring evaluation.
In the past, engineers and technicians tasked with performing the evaluations were subjected to a very uncomfortable ride as they continuously circled the pothole-filled track. The human role in this test, however, wasn’t to provide feedback on handling characteristics, but to simply drive the vehicle at specific speeds over the horribly bumpy course. They would do this repeatedly, day-after-day, until the vehicle accumulated the necessary mileage.
Because having a human behind the wheel wasn’t critical to this specific test, Toyota engineers thought that an automated system would be very beneficial. So, when planning for durability testing began on prototypes of the all-new Avalon, Toyota invited a robot to take the wheel. Spoiler alert: using the robot resulted in greater overall safety, efficiency and reduced test times.
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March 14, 2018 at 07:30PM