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Toyota Previews Next-Generation Driver Assist Tech

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/5/2014 Kelly Pleskot

Thanks to technologies like pre-collision braking and blind spot monitor, we are inching closer and closer to self-driving cars that help drivers avoid dangerous situations. Now, Toyota is taking safety to the next level by introducing new Advanced Highway Driving Assist technologies, which are expected to launch mid-decade.

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The company's next-generation driver safety system encompasses five technologies. The first is Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which uses a radar sensor in the front grille to help the car maintain a set speed and distance from other vehicles. Lane Trace Control builds upon what we know as Lane Departure Warning, detecting lane markings on the road and automatically adjusting a vehicle's steering angle so it remains at a safe spot in its designated lane. Further improving on current technologies, a 3D head-up display shows drivers key information while a new onboard LIDAR system detects objects on the road without the need for a roof-mounted system.

Other technologies monitor not the road, but the actual driver. Toyota is testing technology that warns drivers if their hands are off the steering wheel or if their eyes are not focused on the road ahead. This type of technology, which we've also seen from Volvo, is accomplished through an infrared camera that detects the direction of the driver's face and a touch sensor that determines steering wheel contact.

According to Toyota, these technologies will help toward its goal of "a world without traffic fatalities." Unlike many of today's safety systems, which are often available only as optional equipment in higher-end cars, Toyota said it plans on making the technologies accessible to a wide range of drivers.

Lexus GS Integrated Safety© Provided by MotorTrend Lexus GS Integrated Safety

Toyota's new driver assistance system originally debuted last year in Japan, but the company has made significant changes since. It has reprogrammed its system based on actual U.S. traffic conditions and updated it to operate at speeds up to 70 mph. The newest version was presented at the fourth annual Toyota Advanced Safety Seminar in Ann Arbor, Mich. this week.

Source: Toyota

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