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Toyota co-pilot approach to future vehicle safety

We talk about new technologies here all the time, especially the focus on research and development of safety technologies and features. We’ve also talked a fair bit about the idea of autonomous cars, and how certain companies are advancing in that field.

The Toyota Motor Corporation – TMC – along with the Lexus division, has unveiled its advanced active safety research vehicle for the first time at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show, thus revealing Toyota’s ‘co-pilot’ approach to vehicle safety technology.

The Japanese company has said that their view of traffic safety is a mixture of several parts, including people, vehicles and the driving environment at any one point in time – hence saying that a more skilful driver is also a safer one.

This is a rather interesting and somewhat unexpected approach coming from a Japanese carmaker, because the idea of a future car that may not necessarily drive itself – even though it arguably would have the technology capable of doing so – goes against current trends in autonomous vehicle development.

According to the company’s vice president – who is also the general manager of Lexus USA – the Japanese manufacturer is pursuing development of increasingly advanced automated technologies, however it also believes that the driver has to be fully engaged during the driving experience.

Their view is that a driverless car is just part of a whole, the vision of a future car being equipped with an intelligent and always-attentive co-pilot who contributes to give birth to safer driving.

The research vehicle that we’re talking about is based on a Lexus LS and is equipped with a plethora of sensors and automated control systems meant to survey, process and respond to the ever-changing surroundings, and is also has what we’re starting to consider standard in such vehicles: GPS, stereo cameras, radar and light detection and ranging laser tracking.

The people over at Toyota believe that the elimination of traffic fatalities and injuries should be the ultimate goal of any society that values mobility, and this research project reflects that philosophy, we’ll have to wait and see what will come of it

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