Toyota Plans New Vehicle Safety Systems for 2015 and Beyond


  • Lexus LS Picture

    Lexus LS Picture

    Toyota is using a Lexus LS as the basis for its Advanced Active Safety Research test vehicle. | October 11, 2013

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Just the Facts:
  • Toyota is tired of seeing other carmakers get publicity for innovative, automated safety system development.
  • The Japanese automaker will begin introducing new active safety systems of its own by mid-decade.
  • They will go into some of Toyota's less expensive models as well as the high-end cars and trucks that usually receive new technologies first.

TOKYO — Anxious to show that it is keeping up with the competition, Toyota Motor Corp. announced a suite of upgraded active safety systems that will start hitting markets as early as 2015 and ultimately be applied to a broad swath of the company's models.

The systems, demonstrated at an event held in Tokyo this week, are aimed at improving traffic and pedestrian safety by relieving drivers of often-tedious chores in some highway traffic situations and helping them to avoid vehicular and pedestrian collisions.

One system even helps average drivers make it through curves and twisty roads with the smooth lines of a professional race driver.

Among the systems Toyota executives and engineers showed off is an improved version of the company's pedestrian collision avoidance system. The old system used a forward-looking camera to identify a pedestrian in the roadway about 2 seconds before collision and attempted to automatically brake the car to a stop. If stopping was not possible, the system would at least slow the car significantly to minimize the impact.

The new pedestrian collision avoidance system adds steering control to the package, using computer guidance and electric servo-motors to automatically steer the car away from the pedestrian. One limitation not yet overcome is that, because automated systems can't make decisions such as whether it is better to collide with a car in the adjacent lane than to hit a pedestrian, the system keeps the car in its own lane, minimizing the distance it can swerve to avoid a pedestrian.

Also on tap for fairly widespread distribution throughout the Toyota and Lexus lineups in coming years are:

  • Front and rear cameras, with expanded 180-degree fields of vision, that can identify and warn of "cross traffic" from pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and other cars that a driver might not see in her peripheral vision. This is especially useful when pulling out of or backing out of parking spaces, garages and other tight spaces.
  • A parking assistance system that automatically backs the car into parking spaces, once the driver identifies the space to be used and positions the car accordingly. The driver applies braking during the maneuver but doesn't need to touch the steering wheel.

Farther away from mass market introduction is a package Toyota calls Automated Highway Driving Assist. It relies on car-to-car communications systems that all automakers would have to adopt if it is to be effective.

Using short-range radio signals, properly equipped cars could instantaneously and continuously exchange information such as speed, braking activity and rates of acceleration and deceleration. Other systems on Toyota's cars include "cooperative" adaptive cruise control and "lane trace" control.

Cooperative cruise control enables properly equipped cars to read one another's acceleration, deceleration and braking information and to follow suit simultaneously in order to maintain the intervals between cars. This, Toyota engineers say, would eliminate the car-to-car lag times that often result in chain-reaction slowing down and, ultimately, traffic jams.

Toyota's "lane trace" is an improvement on lane keeping systems that read lane markers and keep cars centered between them. On curves, lane trace computes and then self-steers — and brakes or accelerates the car, as needed — along the best line through the curve to minimize body roll and provide a smooth ride. It works on multiple curves as well as on single curves, and on tight, diminishing-radius curves as well as on gentler, more open bends in the road.

Edmunds says: It's nice to see the world's second-largest automaker renewing efforts to stay competitive in the active safety arena and to bringing these complex and often expensive systems into more mainstream models in its lineup.

Most Recommended Comments

By tacomamudpit
on 10/12/13
10:42 AM PST

What happen to attentive drivers watching the road! More interesting here; is the lack of information or innovation related to power-trains? Carry over engines and transmissions year after year. Example Toyota Tacoma is on an 8+ year cycle with no major changes for 2014, same gas guzzling engines and dated 5-speed autos, what’s that you say? Rear DRUM brakes for the NEW 2014 TACOMA, yes sir its true! 2014 Highlander SAME carry over V6 engines; where is the innovation with the V6 and V8 engines in your Trucks and SUV’s? To include; better fuel management systems, Direction Injection, Cylinder-deactivation, Turbo’s and to a much lesser extent diesel options. Here we land in 2014 and predominately 5 speed automatics carry over! Sure you have some 6-speeds “available.” In "some of" your vehicles. But your competitors are running 6, 7, and 8 speed autos [9-speeds rumored to be on the way] and they offer Direction Injection, Cylinder-deactivation, Turbo’s, Diesels and as a result have HUGE fuel saving gains in there trucks and SUV’s. I won’t mention the BIG-3 all offer those technologies; reliability and re-sale aside, they all OFFER it. Saw a commercial last night on TV – e.g., The ALL NEW Toyota Tundra – Did I miss the wagon? New front clip and grill, heads lights might look different, modified tails lights, sure the rear tail gate has Tundra stamped in the steel. But the SAME Gas guzzling V6/V8’s carry over, same transmissions, drive lines, axels, and brakes – ALL NEW…? Anyone now what the automotive definition of “ALL NEW” is in today’s market? I hope Toyota has some serious innovations in work for power-trains very soon! OK guys/gals I’m done, back to Barret Jackson auto auction!

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By tacomamudpit
on 10/16/13
6:18 PM PST

http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/future-toyota-tundra-to-put-emphasis-on-fuel-efficiency.html Excerpts from above link are below, read the whole link for more supporting data, direct from Edmunds: The V6 MPG is listed in article, not the V8: I believe the I-force V8 is 15 MPG combined! {V8 MPG = 17 Hwy, 13 City, 15 Combined} Excerpt: “The base 2014 Toyota Tundra with a 4.0-liter V6 engine returns 16 mpg in city driving and 20 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.” {See above Tundra link for details} Excerpt: “However, the powertrain, chassis and the components under the sheet metal remain unchanged. A redesign or significant re-engineering had been expected by now but was delayed due to several factors, including the tsunami in 2011 that destroyed portions of Japan, the recession and other factors.” {See above Tundra link for details} Excerpt: “Specifically, at issue is building "the right truck with the right power plant that meets government CAFE regulations" beginning in 2018, he said.” {See above Tundra link for details} http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/corolla/2014/road-test1.html Direct from Edmunds, see the Corolloa link…..Excerpts below are from the above link... Excerpt: Under the 2014 Toyota Corolla's surface, it's pretty much business as usual, too. Base models get the SAME 132-horsepower 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels “through an antiquated four-speed automatic transmission.” {See above Corolla link for details} Excerpt: “From the outside, this Corolla is still far from inspiring. Our Corolla LE Eco tester, with plastic plates covering its steel wheels and vast expanses of unadorned sheet metal, is unlikely to turn even its owner's head.” {See above Corolla link for details} Excerpt: “Even the digital clock from generations past remains, making it look dated relative to most of its competitors.” {See above Corolla link for details}

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