Toyota launches new Safety Sense systems, adds driver assists
Toyota Motor Corporation has unveiled a new suite of active safety systems that it will begin rolling out on select models in Japan during 2015. Available in two configurations, one for compact and one for midsize and high-end large cars, Toyota Safety Sense also will be will offered on vehicles in Europe and North America by the end of 2017. The automaker has promised both versions -- Toyota Safety Sense C and Safety Sense P --will be priced "to encourage widespread use." Along with Safety Sense, Toyota revealed several other new related technologies that will debut next year. These include next-gen LED Array Adaptive High Beam headlamps, an enhanced parking support system and an advanced vehicle-to-infrastructure communication setup that will facilitate semi-autonomous driving.
Driving towards a safer tomorrow
Developed as part of its commitment to help eliminate fatalities and serious injuries stemming from auto-related incidents, Toyota Safety Sense combines a pre-collision system (PCS), lane-departure alert and automatic high beam headlamps. Intended for use on smaller vehicles, the "C" version will use a front-mounted camera and laser radar while the more advanced "P" variant that also includes a pedestrian-detection function and adaptive cruise control pairs its camera with millimeter-wave radar. Both PCS setups provide audio/visual warnings and supplemental brake-assist when a driver does respond to any potential impact. If no response is detected, they automatically apply the brakes to reduce speed and eliminate or at least mitigate any crash.
The lane-departure alert in Toyota's Safety Sense package uses its camera to read existing white/yellow road markings and determine if a vehicle is inadvertently wandering out of a given lane at which point it delivers audio/visual warnings to the driver. Also linked to camera input, automatic high beam deployment ensures the greatest amount of forward illumination is always provided without creating any "dazzle" issues for on-coming drivers or vehicles immediately ahead.
In addition to the automatic high beams that are part of Safety Sense, Toyota showed its new LED Array Adaptive High Beam System (LED Array AHS). AHS uses multiple independently controlled LEDs arranged in a single row to provide optimal illumination for any driving condition, including during cornering. The automaker also presented its enhanced parking support system in the form of Intelligence Clearance Sonar technology and an upgraded Panoramic View Monitor. The former adds more sensors for better object detection and features new automatic steering and braking control while the latter gains a new See-through View option that switches from an overhead to a driver's-perspective view of the surroundings.
Finally, Toyota plans to introduce new vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems on some of its domestic models in 2015. They'll use the dedicated 760MHz Intelligent Transport System frequency to provide vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications. The automaker also confirmed it will be part of the ITS Connect Promotion Consortium aimed at supporting development of environments that will expedite their smooth introduction and widespread adoption.
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