Laser detection seems pretty futuristic in automobile terms but Toyota is bridging the gap and the heavy use of this technology in their current research and development points to its use in future models from the Japanese brand.
At the fourth Toyota Annual Advanced Safety Seminar, lasers, 3D info displays and an advance driving support system were highlighted, showcasing them as the future of Toyota’s safety features.
“Toyota’s vision is of a world without traffic fatalities, and these advanced connected and automated vehicle technologies have the potential to revolutionise automotive safety. We are committed to bringing advanced active safety systems to market as quickly as possible and making them accessible to a broad range of drivers,” said Seigo Kuzumaki, Toyota’s Chief Safety Technology Officer.
Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA)
The AHDA system integrates three core technologies: Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Trace Control and Predictive and Interactive Human-Machine Interface (HMI). These support the driver by keeping the vehicle on its lane and a safe distance from others on the road, all while travelling at cruising speeds. The Predictive and Interactive HMI promotes driver engagement by warning when the system is going to disengage and monitoring the driver’s level of attention on the road ahead.
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
This system allows drivers to maintain speed and make more comfortable progress while reducing accident risk by keeping a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. Using a 77GHz millimeter-wave radar, it detects and monitors vehicles in front and maintains specific speeds and distances for safety.
Lane Trace Control (LTC)
Lane Trace Control helps the driver keep the car safely within its lane, using signals relayed by a front-mounted camera and a millimeter-wave radar. The sensors detect lane markings on the road surface and vehicle ahead. The system calculates the right driving path, automatically adjusting the vehicle’s steering angle so the Toyota keeps within its lane, within an appropriate margin from surrounding vehicles.
Predictive and Interactive HMI
All this technology would be indiscernible without the proper human-machine interface (HMI) which is why Toyota has included a predictive and interactive HMI.
The system makes its predictions on the basis of the lay-out/geometry of the road ahead and historical sensor performance. These predictions are intelligently generated, so they apply specifically to the traffic lane where the vehicle is travelling. It is able to make lane-specific predictions by combining data from an enhanced map, an automotive-grade GPS receiver and sensors including the front camera and radar.
Monitoring technologies area used to check the driver’s level of attention on the road ahead. An infra-red camera monitors the driver’s face and a touch sensor locates where the driver’s hands are on the steering wheel. The system warns the driver if it detects their hands are off the wheel, or their eyes are not on the road ahead for a long period.
Single Photon Avalanche Diode/Light Detection and Ranging (SPAD LIDAR)
The high-resolution LIDAR (laser radar) combines the functions of a millimeter-wave radar and stereo cameras. It can detect the shape and position of obstacles ahead and its active sensors mean it can operate in daylight and at night.
3D head-up display
The system projects critical information onto the windscreen, such as vehicle status, traffic conditions and road signs, rendering it in 3D with no for the driver to wear special glasses or use other accessories.
There is no specific timetable for the release of these technologies but Toyota is intent on integrating certain features within the next few years.