Toyota Building Self-Driving Test Track

Toyota Motor Corp. is building a closed-course test facility in Michigan for its self-driving vehicle technology.

The Japanese automaker said on Thursday it will build a test track that will duplicate “edge case” driving scenarios that are too dangerous to conduct on public roads.

The facility at Ottawa Lake, which is being built by the Toyota Research Institute, will go into operation in October.

It will lease roughly 60 acres of land from MITRP, and it will still have access to MITRP’s public offerings like its oval track. MITRP’s full footprint measures some 336 acres.

Operating inside the oval track, TRI will build out its facility to include replications of congested city streets, a four-lane divided highway, and low-traction surfaces.

“This new site will give us the flexibility to customize driving scenarios that will push the limits of our technology and move us closer to conceiving a human-driven vehicle that is incapable of causing a crash,” Ryan Eustice, the Toyota Research Institute’s senior vice president of automated driving, said in a statement.

Automakers such as General Motors Co and companies such as Alphabet Inc. unit Waymo have been racing to develop self-driving cars and be the first to market with a viable product.

Self-Driving Safety

Questions about the safety of self-driving technology and oversight of developers were raised after a fatal collision between an Uber Technologies Inc self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in Arizona in March.

Following that accident, Toyota suspended all its self-driving tests on U.S. public roads in California and Michigan. Toyota has continued tests on closed courses.

A Toyota Research Institute spokesman said stopping tests on public roads has allowed the automaker to refine and upgrade its fleet of test vehicles.

“We will resume testing on public roads in a few weeks, once these three systems have been more closely aligned,” the spokesman said.

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