A number of automakers are working on developing fully autonomous cars, but it looks like the groundwork for such technologies will likely show up first as semi-autonomous systems for both safety and convenience. Following recent announcements from Nissan and Ford in this area, Toyota has now released information for some of its advanced semi-autonomous technologies that could be offered in production cars over the next few years.

On the safety front, Toyota's new pre-collision system with pedestrian-avoidance steering assist is aimed at protecting the folks who aren't in the car. This system combines visual and audible alerts with automatic brake assist and automatic steering. If warnings don't get the driver to slow down, the brake assist kicks in if a collision is very likely, but if that is still not able to avoid the impending collision (and if there is enough room to do so), the car can automatically steer itself around the pedestrian. This sounds most beneficial for last-second dangers such as a person accidently stepping out into the road in front of a car. Toyota hopes to have this technology available to customers by 2015.

The Japanese automaker is also testing a suite of technologies called Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA). The key part of this is a new adaptive cruise control system that uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications rather than a radar-based system. This cooperative-adaptive cruise control allows vehicles to communicate their acceleration and deceleration data with other cars, which Toyota says this helps to improve fuel efficiency and traffic flow. Also a part of AHDA is the Lane Trace Control feature, which sounds like a next-gen lane keep assist. This system uses cameras, radar and a computer to keep the vehicle in a "smooth driving line" by being able to change steering angle, engine torque and braking force. Toyota says this technology could be in place by the "mid-2010s."

Of course, Toyota is still working on fully autonomous technology (as displayed in the image above), and it looks to have an automated system called Intelligent Driver-Support on the roads in Japan within two years. Scroll down for Toyota's official press release on its upcoming vehicle technologies.
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Toyota Develops New Pedestrian Safety Technology

-Pre-collision System with Pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist
-Uses Automatic Steering to Help Avoid Collisions

Toyota City, Japan, Oct. 11, 2013 - Toyota Motor Corporation announces that it has developed a Pre-collision System (PCS) that uses automatic steering in addition to increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking to help prevent collisions with pedestrians. Toyota is committed to developing safety technologies that help eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

The new PCS with Pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist can help prevent collisions in cases where automatic braking alone is not sufficient, such as when the vehicle is travelling too fast or a pedestrian suddenly steps into the vehicle's path. An on-board sensor detects pedestrians and issues a visual alert on the dashboard immediately in front of the driver if the system determines that there is a risk of collision. If the likelihood of a collision increases, the system issues an audio and visual alarm to encourage the driver to take evasive action, and the increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking functions are activated. If the system determines that a collision cannot be avoided by braking alone and there is sufficient room for avoidance, steer assist is activated to steer the vehicle away from the pedestrian.

The number of traffic fatalities in Japan has declined for 12 consecutive years, reaching 4,411 in 2012. However, of that total, pedestrian fatalities are the most common, accounting for 37.0 percent*.

Last year, Toyota developed a system that uses increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking to help prevent collisions with pedestrians. The system, which was adopted on the Lexus "LS", warns the driver when it detects a potential collision with a pedestrian or obstacle. If the driver does not take action to avoid the collision, the system activates.

TMC aims to make PCS (Pedestrian-avoidance with no steer assist) more affordable and roll it out by 2015 on a wider range of vehicles, before introducing PCS with Pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist.

Toyota to Launch Advanced Driving Support System Using Automated Driving Technologies in Mid-2010s

-Safer Highway Driving
-Reduced Environmental Effects and Driver Workload

Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle
The Advanced Active Safety Research test vehicle, based on the Lexus "LS", is being used in research at the Toyota Research Institute of North America in Saline, Michigan.
Toyota City, Japan, October 11, 2013 - Toyota Motor Corporation announces that it has developed a next-generation advanced driving support system, Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA), which uses automated driving technologies to support safer highway driving.

AHDA links two automated driving technologies to support safer driving and reduce driver workload: Cooperative-adaptive Cruise Control, which wirelessly communicates with preceding vehicles to maintain a safe distance; and Lane Trace Control, which aids steering to keep the vehicle on an optimal driving line within the lane.

Toyota recognizes the importance of the driver being in ultimate control of a vehicle and is therefore aiming to introduce AHDA and other advanced driving support systems wherethe driver maintains control and the fun-to-drive aspect of controlling a vehicle is not compromised. Toyota plans to market the newly developed AHDA in the mid-2010s and other driving support systems as soon as possible to provide safe and secure means of transportation.

Ahead of trials on the Shuto Expressway near the Tokyo metropolitan area starting October 15, Toyota will exhibit AHDA at the 20th Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress Tokyo 2013, an international conference for intelligent transport systems (ITS), to be held from October 14 to 18.

In addition, to enable prompt market introduction of next-generation driving support systems, Toyota will make use of the cutting-edge component technologies and know-how acquired through automated driving research conducted with the advanced active safety research vehicle unveiled at the 2013 International CES in Nevada, United States in January this year.

Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA)

Cooperative-adaptive Cruise Control
In contrast to standard radar cruise control (which uses millimeter-wave radar to detect other vehicles), Cooperative-adaptive Cruise Control uses 700-MHz band vehicle-to-vehicle ITS communications to transmit acceleration and deceleration data of preceding vehicles so that following vehicles can adjust their speeds accordingly to better maintain inter-vehicle distance. By reducing unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, the system improves fuel efficiency and helps reduce traffic congestion.

Lane Trace Control
Lane Trace Control, which features completely new Toyota automated driving technologies, employs high-performance cameras, millimeter-wave radar and control software to enable an optimal and smooth driving line at all speeds. The system adjusts the vehicle's steering angle, driving torque and braking force when necessary to maintain the optimal line within the lane.

Automated Driving Technologies Research

At the 2013 International CES, Toyota displayed the advanced active safety research vehicle, a test vehicle for automated driving technologies that Toyota is researching under its Integrated Safety Management Concept*. The test vehicle, based on the Lexus "LS", is being used in research at the Toyota Research Institute of North America in Saline, Michigan, and is capable of autonomous driving. It is fitted with forward-looking cameras to detect traffic signals, as well as front-mounted sensors to detect vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles to determine traffic conditions, such as intersections and merging traffic lanes, in the vehicle's vicinity. Such research on various elemental technologies is aimed to help drivers choose the safest routes possible.

Toyota has been researching automated driving technologies since the second half of the 1990s, and has been conducting public road tests in the U.S. for a number of years. Within Japan, Toyota has been testing its next-generation Intelligent Driver-support System on public roads for approximately two years.

Based on the insights gained from automated driving research, Toyota aims to provide advanced driving support systems optimized to help enable safer driving and contribute to realizing the ultimate goal of any society that values mobility: the elimination of traffic fatalities and injuries.

In anticipation of the super-aging populations of the future, these advances will also be used to develop technologies that support senior drivers with recognition, decision-making and vehicle operation, with the aim of achieving a mobility society where they can lead fuller lives. Furthermore, Toyota is working to provide more stable driving environments that contribute to the alleviation of traffic congestion, thereby reducing economic loss and CO2 emissions.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 44 Comments
      Arizonarelax
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought it was teach a man to fish. Not do it for him.
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Arizonarelax
        People have been driving for over 100 years now, if we have not learned YET we will never learn. Once you admit that fact you can let computer take over.
          gazaer
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          Seal who engineers, designs and builds computers? Who programs them? You need to check your porch light it appears burned out.
      Suzq044
      • 1 Year Ago
      Jeez. Imagine if THAT system were to have a malfunction & CAUSE a wreck.. *shudder*.. (granted I don't buy toyota, but my mom was a long time advocate until her Lexus decided to light itself on fire on the way to the store 1/4 mile away)
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Suzq044
        So a regular car can not have a system malfunction? I once was in a Golf with a friend and the car just stalled in the middle of the highway.
          Suzq044
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          A Lexus isn't a regular car? Lol Point is, I will continue to buy my so-far problem-free Chryslers. Thx. (Totally expecting a boo Chrysler post as a response)
      Davey Hiltz
      • 1 Month Ago


      Davey Hiltz
      • 1 Month Ago

      So far, it's been a miracle that I haven't gotten into a wreck with a pedestrian yet. I have the worst ADD when I drive and I'm amazed that I still stay on the road. My mother says I have an angel on my shoulder and I'm sure she's right. I should pay more attention, or at least work on that.

      http://greggscollisionmo.net 

      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Judging by the pathetic crash test results for the Corolla, they should put this system on it rather than the Camry. Err, I mean LS.
        Helix
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FIDTRO
        Still better than that VW Passat Diesel Autoblog was driving a while back - er I mean A8.
      kontroll
      • 1 Year Ago
      one can't trust toyota with the gas pedal...should they be trusted with a more sophisticated electronic system??? I don't think so...
      Robert Fahey
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here\'s how this will play out in the United States: * When it comes out, people who don\'t have it will sue for \"negligence.\" * And if it fails to prevent an accident, that\'s another suit. * And if it automatically jerks the car away from a pedestrian and into a traffic island or something, that\'s another suit.
        Bernard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Robert Fahey
        You forgot that people who don't have it will sue because it caused a car that (again for clarity) doesn't have it, to accelerate into a wall...
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      About time car companies concentrate on avoiding the accident in the first place, rather than safety during the accident. After any moderate car crash you kind of have to visit the doctor (i am not even talking about any broken bones) for bruises and stuff...............that visit costs around 3K-4K and that's before the car damage is taken into account.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Hek!
        • 1 Year Ago
        "Hi guys, I watched a movie where like people had to leave Earth because it like sucked to live here. We should totally do that instead of improving what we have here." It currently costs about $10,000 to get 1kg of payload into space: multiply that by the average 70kg for a human and then again by 7 billion for everyone and then again by 900kg of food for everyone [that would last about a year, not nearly enough] and you get: $4,410,000,000,000,000,000 or 4.41 pentillion dollars. That does not include R&D, personnel training, actual construction of said spacecraft or any other costs, it's just the fuel cost to get that weight into low earth orbit, to find a new planet we'd probably have to travel for millennia. We. Are. Not. Evacuating. Earth. Less: Movies. More: Thinking. Please.
        1454
        • 1 Year Ago
        Most of this is safety related. It's not just for laziness. Given that most of todays drivers don't really need to be on the road, it makes perfect sense. Take them further and further away from the equation.
      John Hughan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well judging by the much higher than average percentage of boneheaded moves I see from the drivers of their cars, Toyota is the perfect automaker to be looking into this.
      groingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Of course all this stuff is software driven which means it can be hacked, hope it works better than their brakes and throttle system.
        1454
        • 1 Year Ago
        @groingo
        Hacked how? If it doesn't have wireless ports it can only be hacked if it is hardwired in someway. So your example is just dumb.
          John Hughan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @1454
          And what happens when hackers figure out how to impersonate a cars, sending out signals that cause nearby cars to react in a way that the hacker desires?
          1454
          • 1 Year Ago
          @1454
          Even with V2V, I'm sure the signals will be read only, so therefore the car would only be able to react to input signals from other cars, not be given instructions.
          flychinook
          • 1 Year Ago
          @1454
          @ John Hughan Well if hackers managed to sort out all of that, yes, the car may crash. Or they could just cut the brake lines, or do any number of things that you can do to a car today.
          John Hughan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @1454
          @1454, only a tiny fraction of the population has the necessary access to planes to develop and test hacks. A significant percentage of the population owns cars. And even if hacks to planes WERE developed, the fact that few people own or can fly planes plus the FAA flight plan log requirement makes it a lot harder to hop into a plane and get close enough to other planes to screw with them (and then get away with it) than it is to jump into a car and do the same. Additionally, to my knowledge planes don't act automatically take action based on information they're receiving from other nearby planes.
        John Hughan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @groingo
        @flychinook Agreed. But the only point you're making is that cars aren't absolutely secure. But that doesn't mean we should automatically employ measures that make them dramatically less so. Jacking up a car and getting under it to cut the brake lines is a bit more involved and obvious than driving around with a laptop broadcasting a signal that messes up other cars. I'm not saying that vehicle-to-vehicle communication can't be done securely or even that it's a bad idea. What I'm saying is that automakers have historically not designed their software with security in mind because there was little to no threat of a hacker trying to compromise the system, but a vehicle-to-vehicle setup where cars automatically make decisions based on feedback from other devices around them poses a massive security concern that would have to be addressed.
      grtsch6134
      • 1 Year Ago
      ...this will never be a technology that gets added to cars...........toyota will quietly bury it, because never should the car override a driver's ability to control the car
        1454
        • 1 Year Ago
        @grtsch6134
        You mean like brake override switches? or shifter interlocking devices? Next......
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