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Toyota Introduced a Vehicle Development Platform ARENE for Automated Mapping Platform Developers

Toyota is shifting from a car manufacturer to a mobility company. To solve existing problems such as shrinking population and urban concentration, Toyota aims to provide high-quality mobility services to all people. Toyota collaborates with other companies extensively around the world and provides tools for local startups related to mobility services. For example, during 2018, Toyota established a partnership with Grab in Southeast Asia, with Uber in the US, and with Softbank in Japan. Toyota aims to establish a global mobility service platform utilizing connected technologies through these partnerships while providing vehicles to startups in an effort to increase profitability.

TRI-AD, a subsidiary of Toyota established in March 2018, is in charge of developing autonomous driving software for Toyota. With the aim of developing the world's safest self-driving car, it will incorporate TRI’s AI technology into mass production of Toyota products and services.

TRI-AD is also focusing on developing HD maps for more advanced and safe automated driving. They are designed not only for highways but also for local roads.

Since February 2019, TRI-AD has been proposing an open source automatic map generation platform AMP, which promotes the enhancement of HD map data. Probe information obtained by Toyota is openly shared with application developers, and those developers can access probe data anonymously and securely through the developer’s portal, and can freely develop map applications in any format.

When using AMP, vehicle testing could be an entry barrier especially for startup application developers. To solve this problem, TRI-AD has released a vehicle development platform Arene in December 2019. Arene is to provide the most programmable vehicle on the earth, establishing an ecosystem of connected cars and in-vehicle applications. It is also expected to provide developers with an agile testing environment for developing autonomous driving technology.

By providing Arene, Toyota will be able to enrich AMP and incorporate its data into the group network. In addition, the company is planning to provide Arene to other OEMs to establish an alliance.

Overview of Autonomous Driving Software Development through TRI-AD

Mobility for All - Toyota’s Basic Policy as a Mobility Company

・Toyota is making the transition to become a mobility company by utilizing the existing business foundation and connections as anautomaker. - To solve existing problems across the globe, such as depopulation and urban concentration, Toyota aims to provide high-quality mobility services to all people. - Toyota holds a view that it is impossible for an automaker to solve all existing mobility issues by itself alone. Thus, the company values in global collaborations with local startups and providing tools for them. ・In 2018, Toyota partnered with Grab in Southeast Asia in June, with Uber in the US in July, and with Softbank in Japan in October. -The company will provide vehicles to startups, establish a mobility service platform (MSPF) utilizing connected technologies, absorb development costs through its ecosystem, and acquire new revenue sources.

Autonomous Driving Software Development through TRI-AD

・Toyota Research Institute Advanced Development (TRI-AD), established in March 2018 at Toyota's new base in Tokyo (opened in October 2018), will be responsible for the development of autonomous driving software. - The investment amount for development is about 300 billion yen (about 2.8 billion dollars), with affiliates DENSO and Aisin Seiki investing 5% each. - The number of employees is about 650 as of December 2019. The CEO is James Kuffner, a former Google and a Senior Fellow at Advanced R&D and Engineering Company of Toyota from Carnegie Mellon University. Leverages industry-academia networks in the United States. - TRI-AD aims to develop the world's safest self-driving vehicle and will incorporate TRI's advanced research and development (Mobility Teammate Concept) into mass-production of Toyota products and services.

Toyota Launching HIGHWAY TEAMMATE in the Fall of 2020

・Toyota will mass-produce a highway self-driving system (Level 3 autonomy by SAE), Highway Teammate. - Highway Teammate enables fully automatic operation of merging onto or exiting highways, maintaining or changing lanes, and maintaining inter-vehicle distances. - In the late 2020s, the system will be expanded from highways to general roads and from driver assistance to driverless (Urban Teammate).

Utilizing HD Maps from TRI-AD for Advanced Autonomous Driving

・TRI-AD also develops HD maps for autonomous driving. It will be not only for highways but also for local, general roads. - However, the creation of HD maps is merely an enabler and is a component of the entire autonomous driving system. - Combined with other local sensors, such as cameras, radars, and ultrasonic sensors, HD maps achieve more advanced and safer autonomous driving.

TRI Develops Autonomous Driving Technologies through AI

・Toyota's US subsidiary, Toyota Research Institute (TRI), conducts research and advanced development of autonomous driving technology through AI based on the design concepts of Guardian (Advanced Driver Assistance System) and Chauffeur (fully autonomous system). ・TRI will also invest in startups through its subsidiary fund Toyota AI Ventures (TAIV) in order to embrace their innovations.

TRI Develops RADICAL Software

・TRI announced an approach called Robust Autonomous Driving Incorporating Cameras And Learning (RADICAL) in January 2020. -Through advanced machine learning, the RADICAL software makes lower-cost cameras more ubiquitous and accurate in perception. - This RADICAL software architecture enables object recognition, classification of road segments, and prediction of the behavior of objects in the surrounding environment. ・The RADICAL software architecture can take advantage of available HD maps, but does not require them. - For that reason, it allows the system to work in unmapped areas and to be used in more locations around the world. - Closed-course testing of RADICAL software will be piloted in the Ottawa Lake test track in Michigan opened in 2019. ・TRI has also developed a framework for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), which generates dynamic maps and detects an accurate position in cooperation with RADICAL. ・TRI has developed cloud-based simulation technology as well, which enables large-scale testing of the system and accurate measurement of overall performance. (Created based on TRI-AD seminar from 12th Automotive World, Toyota PRs, and other media information)
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