Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. is developing a new safety system for its cars that would see them communicating with each other, as well as the roads they are running on, via a series of sensor and transmitters. The car manufacturer has just completed a new facility that’s roughly the size of three baseball stadiums in order to test its new Intelligent Transport System.
The facility, near Mount Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture, resembles a much larger scale practice area at a driving school, full of roads and intersections. Sensors are installed on the streets to warn drivers about conditions that can easily lead to accidents, such as running a red light, pedestrians crossing the road, and other cars in a driver’s blind spot. A series of audio and visual cues tell drivers which situation they are in.
Toyota officials say they hope to start testing the road-to-car communication technology on real Japanese streets sometime in 2014, with tests in the U.S. to follow sometime after. The car company hopes to target intersections specifically, as it says that’s where half of all vehicle accidents occur. Moritaka Yoshida, Toyota’s Managing Officer, feels that the three most important areas to improve for the safety of cars in the future are preventing collisions, detecting pedestrians, and assisting elderly drivers.
Among some of the other automated safety features Toyota has developed include adding extra braking force when a driver is in danger of hitting a car directly in front of them but isn’t pressing the pedal hard enough. They have also developed sensors that use sonar to avoid minor collisions in tight places like parking lots, and another system that known if the driver is pressing the gas pedal when they really intend to hit the brakes. But Toyota isn’t the only one coming out with such high-tech developments, as rival Nissan just recently showed off a car that can stop and park on its own.[via Huffington Post]