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CES: Toyota showcases a Lexus self-driving safety vehicle

But says automated cars are not the future
Mon Jan 07 2013, 20:23
Toyota Lexus automated safety vehicle

LAS VEGAS: JAPANESE AUTOMAKER Toyota showcased its first automated vehicle on Monday in partnership with its Lexus brand, which it hopes will reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries.

Showcased at a press conference at CES, the vehicle, dubbed the Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle, is an automated car which Toyota said marks a new era of integrated safety management technologies in vehicles.

The vehicle, based on a Lexus LS, comes packed full of sensors and automated control systems to help drivers observe and respond to the vehicles surroundings. These technologies include GPS, stereo cameras and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) laser tracking. These technologies are capable of doing things such as identifying a green light from a red one, detecting traffic, measuring distances and acceleration and angle changes.

Other safety features onboard include a Blind Spot Monitor, which uses rear millimeter-wave radar to keep an eye on the driver's rear blind spot, as well as a Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which lets drivers know when other vehicles are approaching when they are backing up.

"In our pursuit of developing more advanced automated technologies, we believe the driver must be fully engaged," said Mark Templin, Toyota group VP and general manager of the Lexus Division.

"For Toyota and Lexus, a driverless car is just a part of the story. Our vision is a car equipped with an intelligent, always-attentive co-pilot whose skills contribute to safer driving."

While this all sounds quite exciting, Toyota said that it doesn't think self-driving cars are in fact the future, despite contrary claims from Google. Instead, the firm tells us that automatic vehicles will be able to enhance the skills of the driver, making everything a bit more safe. We're not sure what Google would have to say about that.

Toyota plans to test its new research vehicle in its Intelligent Transportation System proving grounds in Japan, grounds which have been designed to replicate an urban driving environment.

We hope to be able to get an close-up look at Toshiba's automatic vehicle during CES 2013, so check back for further details. µ


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