- The Toyota Driver Awareness Research Vehicle aims to put the brakes on distracted driving before anyone steps into the car.
- The special Toyota Sienna minivan detects the approach of the driver and then displays critical information on the driver-side window.
- The idea is to sort out all the daily distractions before sliding behind the wheel.
LOS ANGELES — The Toyota Driver Awareness Research Vehicle aims to put the brakes on distracted driving before anyone steps into the car.
The special Toyota Sienna minivan detects the approach of the driver and then displays critical information, including fuel level and a daily calendar, on the driver-side window. The idea is to sort out all the daily distractions before sliding behind the wheel.
The Driver Awareness Research Vehicle or DAR-V was developed in partnership with Microsoft Research "to help reduce driver distractions before the key is even in the ignition," said Toyota in a statement.
The automaker said the window display would show "important, highly personalized information on the side window when the driver approaches the car."
"Using a combination of gesture control, voice and key fob, drivers can navigate information such as updates on traffic and weather, appointments and schedules for the day ahead, and even route details that might include a gas station if the vehicle is low on fuel."
The system can recognize and differentiate between different individuals. Children might be encouraged to "play games" designed to help them buckle their seatbelts quickly, allowing parents to focus on the driving task.
Toyota gave no indication whether this new approach to distracted driving is on its way into production vehicles or how much it would add to the price. It also did not address how such a system would work in colder climates, especially if the vehicle was covered with snow or ice. Such a system may also raise privacy concerns, since others could see the information.
Edmunds says: While this may not be the silver bullet to end distracted driving, it is a step in the right direction because automakers like Toyota show they are serious about the problem.