Car manufacturer Toyota has begun tests of its self-driving car on the roads of Brussels, mainly in the European quarter, La Libre reports.
The car, a stock Lexus LS equipped with special equipment, will ride in a fixed loop through the city for the next 13 months, following tests in the US and Japan, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) said.
“The main aim of this test project is to study complex and unpredictable human behaviour and the impact it has on automated systems,” said Gerald Killmann, vice president of research and development with TME.
The Lexus will be fitted with a variety of sensors on the roof, including radar and Lidar (laser detection and ranging), as well as cameras and a highly sensitive positioning system. While the autonomous car is on the road, it will be manned by a security driver, who can intervene at any moment to take over the controls, as well as an operator whose job is to monitor the system itself during the ride.
TME stressed that the road tests have been preceded by months in which the automated driving system was checked, safety drivers were trained and the route was inspected and agreed with the Brussels authorities.
Speaking for Brussels Mobility, an agency of the regional government, director-general Christophe Vanoerbeek said the agency and the regional government were following the tests closely, as well as the latest developments in automated driving in general. “We are aware of the possibilities of the technology as an option in urban mobility, but understand also that safety is a priority,” he said in a statement.
“Toyota’s ultimate goal is zero victims of road accidents,” Killman said. “That’s why it’s essential to understand human behaviour, in order to be able to react to the complexity and population diversity of an urban environment like Brussels, the capital of Europe with 184 different nationalities.”