Toyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce in two years systems that will allow vehicles to communicate with each other to avoid collision. The system will employ radio waves to obtain data on the speed of other vehicles to keep a safe distance, Toyota said in a statement. Another system – made up of cameras, radar and control software – will help the vehicle maintain its lane position on its own.
The system is seen as Toyota’s take on the development of self-driving vehicles, which other carmakers are also racing to develop. General Motors is developing autonomous vehicles due in 2020 that could drive themselves on controlled-access highways. Nissan Motor Co., on the other hand, disclosed in September that it would test a Leaf model car fitted with an advanced driver assist system on Japanese roads.
Google is also developing technology for self-driving cars. Moritaka Yoshida, managing officer and chief safety technology officer, remarked that Toyota's research for developing automated driving systems is focused on cutting traffic deaths.
He remarked that the real-time speed information shared via wireless communication will allow vehicles to get rid of unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, which in turn could cut traffic congestion and boost fuel efficiency. Toyota’s system integrates technologies gained from its automated driving research.
The Japanese carmaker has remarked that it aims to create a virtual "co-pilot" in vehicles to help drivers avert accidents. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants estimates that sales of driver assistance systems will double to $5.4 billion in the five years until 2017. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 3,400 people around the world are killed in road accidents. [source: Toyota]