In 2015, Toyota plans to make an advanced anti-collision system available to consumers, starting with Japan. The system uses sensors that watch for other cars, pedestrians and other obstacles and not only hits the brakes, but steers the vehicle to avoid hitting whatever is in its path. It gives the driver a chance to react first, bringing up a visual cue then setting off an audible alarm, before taking action on its own.
Of course, that's just the start of Toyota's plans. By the end of the decade it hopes to roll out Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA), a self-driving platform developed with its research vehicle unveiled at CES. The platform is built around two core technologies: Cooperative-adaptive Cruise Control, which talks to other cars over a 700MHz wireless connection to keep a safe distance at all times, and Lane Trace Control, which uses millimeter wave radar and high resolution cameras to keep the vehicle in its lane. These technologies will be deployed in limited situations at first, with a trial on the Shuto Expressway near Tokyo beginning on October 15th. The goal here isn't to take complete control away from the driver, but focus on improving safety. For more details on both initiatives, check out the PR after the break.
Toyota Develops New Pedestrian Safety Technology
Pre-collision System with Pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist Uses Automatic Steering to Help Avoid Collisions
Toyota City, Japan, Oct. 11, 2013 - Toyota Motor Corporation announces that it has developed a Pre-collision System (PCS) that uses automatic steering in addition to increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking to help prevent collisions with pedestrians. Toyota is committed to developing safety technologies that help eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.
The new PCS with Pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist can help prevent collisions in cases where automatic braking alone is not sufficient, such as when the vehicle is travelling too fast or a pedestrian suddenly steps into the vehicle's path. An on-board sensor detects pedestrians and issues a visual alert on the dashboard immediately in front of the driver if the system determines that there is a risk of collision. If the likelihood of a collision increases, the system issues an audio and visual alarm to encourage the driver to take evasive action, and the increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking functions are activated. If the system determines that a collision cannot be avoided by braking alone and there is sufficient room for avoidance, steer assist is activated to steer the vehicle away from the pedestrian.
The number of traffic fatalities in Japan has declined for 12 consecutive years, reaching 4,411 in 2012. However, of that total, pedestrian fatalities are the most common, accounting for 37.0 percent*.
Last year, Toyota developed a system that uses increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking to help prevent collisions with pedestrians. The system, which was adopted on the Lexus "LS", warns the driver when it detects a potential collision with a pedestrian or obstacle. If the driver does not take action to avoid the collision, the system activates.
TMC aims to make PCS (Pedestrian-avoidance with no steer assist) more affordable and roll it out by 2015 on a wider range of vehicles, before introducing PCS with Pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist.
*National Police Agency Traffic Bureau data
Toyota to Launch Advanced Driving Support System Using Automated Driving Technologies in Mid-2010s
Safer Highway Driving
Reduced Environmental Effects and Driver Workload
Toyota City, Japan, October 11, 2013 - Toyota Motor Corporation announces that it has developed a next-generation advanced driving support system, Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA), which uses automated driving technologies to support safer highway driving.
AHDA links two automated driving technologies to support safer driving and reduce driver workload: Cooperative-adaptive Cruise Control, which wirelessly communicates with preceding vehicles to maintain a safe distance; and Lane Trace Control, which aids steering to keep the vehicle on an optimal driving line within the lane.
Toyota recognizes the importance of the driver being in ultimate control of a vehicle and is therefore aiming to introduce AHDA and other advanced driving support systems wherethe driver maintains control and the fun-to-drive aspect of controlling a vehicle is not compromised. Toyota plans to market the newly developed AHDA in the mid-2010s and other driving support systems as soon as possible to provide safe and secure means of transportation.
Ahead of trials on the Shuto Expressway near the Tokyo metropolitan area starting October 15, Toyota will exhibit AHDA at the 20th Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress Tokyo 2013, an international conference for intelligent transport systems (ITS), to be held from October 14 to 18.
In addition, to enable prompt market introduction of next-generation driving support systems, Toyota will make use of the cutting-edge component technologies and know-how acquired through automated driving research conducted with the advanced active safety research vehicle unveiled at the 2013 International CES in Nevada, United States in January this year.
Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA)
Cooperative-adaptive Cruise Control
In contrast to standard radar cruise control (which uses millimeter-wave radar to detect other vehicles), Cooperative-adaptive Cruise Control uses 700-MHz band vehicle-to-vehicle ITS communications to transmit acceleration and deceleration data of preceding vehicles so that following vehicles can adjust their speeds accordingly to better maintain inter-vehicle distance. By reducing unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, the system improves fuel efficiency and helps reduce traffic congestion.
Lane Trace Control
Lane Trace Control, which features completely new Toyota automated driving technologies, employs high-performance cameras, millimeter-wave radar and control software to enable an optimal and smooth driving line at all speeds. The system adjusts the vehicle's steering angle, driving torque and braking force when necessary to maintain the optimal line within the lane.
Automated Driving Technologies Research
At the 2013 International CES, Toyota displayed the advanced active safety research vehicle, a test vehicle for automated driving technologies that Toyota is researching under its Integrated Safety Management Concept*. The test vehicle, based on the Lexus "LS", is being used in research at the Toyota Research Institute of North America in Saline, Michigan, and is capable of autonomous driving. It is fitted with forward-looking cameras to detect traffic signals, as well as front-mounted sensors to detect vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles to determine traffic conditions, such as intersections and merging traffic lanes, in the vehicle's vicinity. Such research on various elemental technologies is aimed to help drivers choose the safest routes possible.
Toyota has been researching automated driving technologies since the second half of the 1990s, and has been conducting public road tests in the U.S. for a number of years. Within Japan, Toyota has been testing its next-generation Intelligent Driver-support System on public roads for approximately two years.
Based on the insights gained from automated driving research, Toyota aims to provide advanced driving support systems optimized to help enable safer driving and contribute to realizing the ultimate goal of any society that values mobility: the elimination of traffic fatalities and injuries.
In anticipation of the super-aging populations of the future, these advances will also be used to develop technologies that support senior drivers with recognition, decision-making and vehicle operation, with the aim of achieving a mobility society where they can lead fuller lives. Furthermore, Toyota is working to provide more stable driving environments that contribute to the alleviation of traffic congestion, thereby reducing economic loss and CO2 emissions.