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Toyota to showcase 'brainier' self-driving car at CES

Lexus-based vehicle with more cameras and sensors to join research fleet in spring

The TRI-P4 combines Toyota's latest self-driving system with the design of Lexus LS sedan. (Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor)

NAGOYA, Japan -- Toyota Motor will unveil its newest test vehicle for automated driving at CES, the world's largest consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas next week.

The Japanese automaker said Friday that the car, which it calls the TRI-P4, will join its U.S. fleet of self-driving research vehicles in the spring.

Based on the latest Lexus LS sedan, released last year, the new vehicle "is a much smarter research vehicle than its predecessor" Toyota said, featuring additional cameras, image sensors and greater computing power. "It can process sensor inputs faster and react more quickly to the surrounding environment," the automaker said.

The actual extent of the improvement was not disclosed.

Toyota aims to commercialize partially automated driving technology that can handle lane changes and other maneuvers by 2020. It seeks to produce a "level 4" system able to operate fully autonomously in certain conditions in the early 2020s.

Toyota will introduce the vehicle at a CES news conference on Monday.

The Toyota Research Institute, an artificial intelligence research center based in Silicon Valley, developed the vehicle.

Building on a previous test vehicle with a 200-meter range of recognition in all directions, the TRI-P4 has two additional cameras, as well as two image sensors, one facing the front and the other pointing to the back.

The computer box, the brain of the autonomous driving system, has been repositioned from the trunk to just behind the rear seat to free up trunk space.

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