2013 Lexus LS 460Enlarge Photo
Toyota has begun full scale testing of inter-vehicle communications, as well as road-to-vehicle communications as part of its drive to reduce accidents via Intelligent Transport System (ITS) technology.
The ITS proving ground, which covers over eight-and-a-half acres, is intended to simulate driving in an urban environment. It’s equipped with road-to-vehicle systems designed to detect vehicles, pedestrians, traffic signals and other controls.
Future Toyota and Lexus models will advise drivers of pedestrians in their path with an audible alarm and an icon of a person on a display screen. Cross traffic at an intersection triggers an arrow display, warning drivers that it isn’t safe to enter the intersection.
There’s even red light detection, which as the Detroit Free Press explains, delivers a soothing “It’s a red light” message in a female voice. Frankly, we’d prefer a drill instructor’s harsh vocalizations, barking at us to “Pay attention, you (expletive deleted).”
Toyota will begin testing its new technology on Japanese roads in 2014, and there’s no timeline yet for a rollout in the United States. When the technology is mature enough for implementation, expect to see it first on Lexus models, likely the range-topping LS sedan used to demonstrate the ITS functions for the press .
While crash-proof cars are still years in the future, one thing is certain: the cost of such technology will ensure that the systems are deployed on range-topping luxury models first.