In Japan, the Toyota Motor Corp. is testing new safety systems to be installed in cars that will allow vehicles to communicate with other vehicles and alert drivers of unfavorable driving conditions.
The cars will be able to receive information from sensors and transmitters installed on streets to minimize accidents, such as running a red light, cars advancing from blind spots or even a pedestrian crossing the street. Toyota’s experiment also allows Toyota’s to “communicate” with other Toyota vehicles.
Monday, reporters were allowed to test drive cars installed with this new system on an artificial road system installed with sensors. The presence of a pedestrian trigger a beeping alert inside the car and an image of person was shown on the windshield. If it a driver was about to ignore a red light, an electronic female voice would remind the driver, “It’s a red light.”
The artificial roads were located at Toyota’s newest test facility estimated to be larger than three major league baseball fields and is located next the breathtaking Mount Fuji in central Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture.
Officials at Toyota say this new smart-car technology will be tested on some actual Japanese roads beginning in 2014. They also told reporters similar tests are planned for the U.S., although few details were revealed.
According to Toyota, they expect the technology to be effective because half of car accidents happen at intersections. Managing Officer Moritaka Yoshida said her company views preventing collisions, avoiding pedestrian accidents will also greatly help the driving ability of the elderly.
Nissan Motor Co., a major rival of Toyota, has also recently revealed cars smart enough to stop on their own, park themselves, and to swerve away from pedestrians who suddenly interrupt the vehicles path.
Another safety feature Toyota hopes to implement is a system to enable drivers to brake harder to prevent hitting other vehicles from behind. Officials at Toyota said drivers often get into a panic and fail to push the breaks hard enough.
Toyota hinted the technology would soon be available for Lexus luxury models that already offer a number of safety features such as automatic breaking. The company has not given an official date as to when these new developments will be implemented into their vehicles.