Plenty of automakers are getting involved in the autonomous driving revolution, but by donating $5 million to the American Center for Mobility (ACM) and its Willow Run facility in Michigan, Toyota is putting its money where its mouth is. The Willow Run facility is a large-scale testing ground specifically designed to help auto manufacturers learn how their vehicles will do in a simulated real-world environment, and here at DCH Toyota of Simi Valley, we're very excited that Toyota is helping the industry test this technology.
More about the ACM
In its own words, the ACM is "a non-profit testing and product development facility for future mobility" and considers its mission to provide a place for automakers to test their connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies in a setting that's not only safe for the general public, but will also improve safety down the road (if you'll pardon the pun).
As Gill Pratt, CEO of Toyota Research Institute says:
As we move forward with the development of autonomous cars, we must remember that not all test miles are created equal. The road to creating a car as safe, or safer, than a human driver will require billions of test miles including simulation, real-world driving on public roads, and closed-course testing where we can expose our systems to extreme circumstances and conditions. The new ACM closed-course facility is a significant step forward in this journey and will accelerate our ability to help prevent crashes and save lives.
The Willow Run facility
Originally an airport, the ACM's rebuilt Willow Run facility provides automotive researchers the opportunity to test conditions that they couldn't safely replicate out in the world. Even better, it comes with a number of structures already in place, including a railroad crossing, a highway loop, and double overpasses.
Add in the fact that Michigan sees a wide variety of weather over the course of the year (including snow, sleet, and hail, all conditions which have traditionally stymied autonomous vehicle sensor systems), and the Willow Run facility is clearly an excellent place to validate CAV technologies.
Here at DCH Toyota of Simi Valley, we're proud of all the progress Toyota has made and is helping to make regarding autonomous driving technology, and we can't wait to see what future holds for our everyday driving experiences. To see what the present holds for your driving experience, call, contact us online, or swing by the dealership today and check out our wide variety of new and used Toyota models.
Image: The American Center for Mobility