Posted on: December 28, 2012
Toyota Motor Corp. has begun testing car safety systems that allow vehicles to communicate with each other and also with the roads they are on. The newly completed Intelligent Transport System facility in Toyota’s Mount Fuji Technology Centre, houses a large network of indoor roads that are used to test the latest safety technologies. Test vehicle receive information from sensors and transmitters installed on the streets to minimize the risk of accidents in situations such as missing a red light, a vehicle advancing from blind spots, and pedestrians crossing the street. The data can then be used by the individual vehicle to prepare for a collision or stop one from happening through electronic intervention, like automatic braking. Not only can the cars receive information, but they can also relay it to other vehicles on the road.
Toyota officials said the smart-car technology it is developing will be tested on some Japanese roads starting in 2014. Similar tests are planned for the U.S., although details were not decided. Such technology is expected to be effective because half of car accidents happen at intersections, according to studies. Managing Officer Moritaka Yoshida said Toyota sees preventing collisions, watching out for pedestrians and helping the driving of the elderly as key to ensuring safety in the cars of the future.
Toyota also previewed a new feature that helps the driver brake harder to prevent rear-ending the vehicle in front. Toyota officials said drivers often fail to push hard on their brakes in such situations because they get into a panic. Toyota said the technology will be available soon and hinted it will be offered for Lexus luxury models. It already offers features like automatic cruise control and blind-spot monitoring in some of its Toyota and Lexus vehicles.Technology involving precise sensors remains expensive, sometimes costing as much as an entry-level Toyota vehicle.
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