2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid Canada – Toyota Motor Corp. Will ship a hybrid next-generation Sienna minivan to Uber Technologies INC. For development of Level 4 Autonomous steering which can be the first tangible result of the company’s 2-year partnership. The Minivan will be sent to Uber in 2021 and is being modified to accommodate a wide range of sensors of the US ride carrier for self-driving vehicles, said Ken Koibuchi, technical head of TRI-AD, subsidiary of driving Software development Autonomous Toyota.
Toyota’s contribution to the project will be the vehicle interface with Uber’s autonomous drive kits and control computers that operate steering, braking, motor and battery.
Level 4 autonomy means the vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under certain conditions.
Toyota will supply about 100 Sienna for the project, said a source that knows the plan.
Shigeki Tomoyama, President of Toyota Connected Co., who pursues business in new mobility, outlines the plan details last week during the announcement of the Toyota quarterly income here, where the company reported little increase in operating profit.
The next generation Sienna delivery, which is still in development, comes when global automakers conduct similar offers with new rival mobility companies. Google’s self-driving car company, Waymo, has the same supply offerings as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik said his company plans to expand the Level 4 autonomous vehicle fleet to as much as 20,000 vehicles in 2022. The FCA supplies Chrysler Pacifica’s minivan, while JLR has agreed to provide a full electric crossover of his Jaguar I-Pace.
Last week, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi would cooperate with Google to develop autonomous taxis and other services for vehicles without private vehicles. The official announcement about that bond can come in early this spring, the newspaper said.
The entry of Toyota into the race of the autonomous fleet of vehicles is part of a three-pronged approach to utilizing a new revenue stream in “mobility as a service,” or MaaS, Tomoyama said.
Also being developed is a huge cargo and driving person called e-Palette, which Toyota plans to uncover next year at the time of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It will be full electricity.
At the other end of the spectrum is what is called the MaaS BEV, which will target a short to medium-haul journey. It will be a small runabout full of electricity.
Sienna will slot between them for a mid-long distance ride.
The redesigned Sienna will have a petrol-electric powertrain. Sienna generation is currently, introduced in 2010 and made in Indiana, comes with a V-6 3.5 liter engine.
“A mass-produced vehicle will be used, an autonomous driving kit will be added, and it will be a special autonomous vehicle of Level 4 MaaS, ” Tomoyama said about the strategy to use Sienna as a base model. “That is the concept to commercialize this system.”
The next generation of Sienna is being developed in Japan and installed to accommodate cameras, sensors, hoods, and processing units used in self-driving vehicles, said Koibuchi.
Importantly, Sienna for Uber will be a hybrid with a large battery bank to run the computer system that is power-thirsty vehicles. Special cooling components are also required.
“It takes a lot of effort and time because we have to remove the chair and carpet and modify the wire harness, ” he said. “It is very difficult to modify into an autonomous vehicle.”
CEO TRI-AD James Kuffner said the Uber system will be a Level 4 setting that has geofenced, meaning it can operate in a limited area where it is supported by technology networks such as high definition mapping and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems .
Tomoyama’s Connected Co. Leads the development of Sienna that can control oneself with the support of TRI-AD, said Koibuchi. TRI-AD, headquartered in Tokyo, was established in March to spearheaded Toyota’s efforts to bridge the gap between pure research and actual production vehicles.
One of the first milestones of TRI-AD came in the year 2020, when attempting to introduce a system called Highway Teammate to allow Toyota vehicles to drive themselves on the highway.
Toyota engaged Uber in 2016 by investing an undisclosed amount in the company and partnering with a car rental program for Uber drivers. Toyota strengthened the bond last August when the company hijacked $500 million to Uber to begin developing autonomous shared vehicles.