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Toyota motors ahead with radar crash avoidance tech

Pre-collision system ready to roll out as test site begins operations

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Japanese car giant Toyota is ready to roll out new radar-based collision avoidance technology which could soon see certain high speed crashes a thing of the past.

The firm’s Pre-collision System (PCS) uses millimeter-wave radar signals to alert the driver by visual display and warning sound when there is a risk of crashing into the car in front.

If the driver brakes in time the system will increase the braking force by up to twice that normally applied, Toyota said.

However, if the driver ignores the warning then the system will take over and automatically decelerate by 15-30km/h.

Citing Japan’s Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA), Toyota said that 90 per cent of rear-end smashes occur when the difference in speed between the two cars is within 60km/h.

The PCS, designed using real-world traffic accident data, is part of Toyota’s Integrated Safety Management initiative launched in 2006 with the aim of ultimately reducing road traffic fatalities involving Toyota cars to zero.

As its research become a reality, Toyota will rely heavily on the newly built Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Test Site in the shadow of Mount Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, which began full-scale operations on Monday.

The 3.5 hectare site is fitted with road-side sensors and transmitters designed to help drivers avoid running red lights or hitting pedestrians, and to better detect cars in blind spots.

The road-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-vehicle and pedestrian-to-vehicle information networks Toyota is testing at the centre form the backbone of the ITS and run on the 700MHz band, which was allocated to the car-maker by the Japanese government.

Toyota said the PCS is ready to roll-out with “soon-to-be-launched” models, but given that the ITS requires significant road-side infrastructure to work effectively it will likely remain on the test ground for some time to come. ®

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