All car manufacturers subject their designs to extreme examples of the conditions the vehicles will face on public roads. In Toyota's case, that happens at a purpose-built facility in Michigan whose showcase is a stretch of pavement with potholes and all sorts of other flaws.
And because engineers are apparently a soft bunch, Toyota has begun using autonomous driving technology to perform rough road durability testing.
In the past, it has been up to the company's engineers and technicians to drive the cars through that suspension-killing gauntlet, which meant they had to endure whatever discomfort filtered through the car's chassis.
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In a bid to save its people from such indignity, Toyota developed a self-driving setup to do that dirty work, and its first pro gig was at the controls of the forthcoming 2019 Avalon.
An added benefit is that the automated process is better at keeping the car on track during high-speed runs along the crash course. It also eliminates the need to swap drivers at roughly half-hour intervals while they rack up thousands of kilometres; test cycles are now only limited by the vehicle's fuel capacity.
Toyota says that following the system's debut in the Avalon, it will be put to work during durability testing for all future models.