Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) based in Plano, Texas, has announced its Saline (south of Ann Arbor) production development teams have been modifying Indiana-produced 2022 Toyota Sienna minivans to create a new vehicle platform compatible with third-party autonomous driving kits and sensors for use in mobility-as-a-services (Maas) operations.
The resulting vehicle is called the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS, or S-AM.
The company started delivery of the completed federal motor vehicle safety stardards-compliant vehicles to customers Aurora Innovation and May Mobility in Ann Arbor in the fall of 2021, and demonstrations of the vehicle by these customers of various autonomous mobility services are already in progress.
“Autono-Maas is a marriage between vehicle and autonomy — a self-driving vehicle and mobility-as-a-service,” says Beth Loomis, senior program manager at TMNA R&D. “Mobility services are really — in Toyota’s viewpoint — mobility at the right time in the right way.”
A vehicle control interface is installed into the Sienna’s allowing the vehicle platform to communicate with the third-party autonomous driving kit of a partner. The vehicles brought from Indiana are completely stripped down and rebuilt, including with unique wire harnesses, and all Toyota-unique parts are installed in the console.
“At May Mobility, our vision is to transform cities using autonomous vehicles, and that’s what the Toyota Sienna does for us,” says Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility. “It’s the first vehicle built from the ground up ready to be controlled by a computer.”
May is also evaluating Toyota’s cabin awareness technology with a sensor module on the headliner uses radar technology to detect how many people are in the vehicle, where they are seated, and if their seat belts are fastened.