Beyond Hot Air: Driving Toyota's Hydrogen Car and Future Technology in Japan

Toyota pulls out all the stops to show us what it's got

November 01, 2013

Smart Safety Controls and Autonomous Driving Systems

In a quick rundown of other technologies, Toyota showed us a parallel parking assist system, around-view cameras to better see in tight areas, and active cruise control. None of those technologies are particularly new outside of Toyota anymore, and we didn't find them too fascinating.
Three pieces were, however: smart cruise control using car-to-car communication, lane trace control, and pedestrian avoidance. The first system used shortwave radio systems for cars to communicate with one another, always maintaining the same predetermined distance between each car. If the car ahead of it braked, the following car would do so automatically as well. Toyota says could be a solution to maintaining traffic speeds in heavy congestion.
Next up, lane trace control can follow lines on a road, staying within them on a curvy road. Toyota representatives say this can help when a driver is fatigued or even distracted, keeping the car from veering into another lane. Of course, it's accompanied by bright colors and clear graphics on the car's infotainment display. Automakers like Mercedes-Benz and Acura already have similar systems on the market, but they require the driver to keep his or her hands on the wheel. Toyota's system, tested in a Lexus GS 350, will keep the car headed in the right direction so long as there are lines on either side of the road to follow. At times, our driver did his best "Look, Ma, no hands!" We weren't alarmed. Too much, at least. Last up, Toyota let us drive a Prius with pedestrian avoidance systems that automatically slam on the brakes and pull to the far side of a lane once it picks up an absent-minded pedestrian standing in the road. Scary how abrupt and effective it is, Toyota has designed the system to keep the car in its current lane but reach as far to the edge of it as it can as not to hit the pedestrian. Toyota says its current camera technologies limit stretching into the next lane, but that could be rectified. Also, there's always the small issue of another car possibly being next to yours. The car would have to have more processing power to be able to decide just where outside the lane to go if such a system were to be designed. Could Toyota do it? Sure. But because of ditches, ruts, and embankments, it might just be smarter to refine the current system before it sees production later this decade.
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Tom Harry
Tom Harry

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Justus Agatuo
Justus Agatuo

oh, gosh this ll be good for my future kids, i like that for big boys.