Toyota to show infrastructure-linked driving safety systems

TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announces it will demonstrateTMC-developed infrastructure-linked driving safety support systems(1) at a public display(2) of intelligent transport systems technologies sponsored by the Universal Traffic Management Society of Japan3 (UTMS Japan) in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture from April 21 to 23, 2009.

The TMC systems to be demonstrated are aimed at helping drivers: 1) notice red lights, 2) timely start from stops, 3) notice stop signs, 4) avoid rear-ending other vehicles and 5) notice pedestrians crossing the street. The systems help reduce the possibility of accidents by using infrastructure-vehicle communications to reach beyond the limits of a vehicle's autonomous safety systems (such as onboard radar devices and cameras). As an environmental measure, they are also aimed at improving traffic flow.

The systems were evaluated in public-road tests sponsored by UTMS Japan and carried out in Toyota City from December 2008 to March 2009, based on the New IT Reform Strategy outlined in January 2006 by the Japanese government's IT Strategic Headquarters. Those tests were part of the broader "ITS-Safety 2010" intelligent transport systems testing program in Aichi Prefecture (sponsored by Japan's private-public ITS Promotion Council) aimed at achieving practical application of vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems in the year ending March 2011.

Based on its "Integrated Safety Management Concept", TMC, in addition to developing onboard autonomous safety devices and systems, is promoting development of infrastructure-respondent systems that allow vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure information exchanges using intelligent transport systems technologies.

Toward the achievement of sustainable mobility, TMC is not only developing safer vehicles and technologies, but is also participating in the creation of a safe traffic environment and conducting traffic safety awareness activities to help realize the complete elimination of traffic casualties.

Driver safety support systems to be demonstrated

1) Road-to-vehicle system for helping drivers notice red lights

Traffic-light status is sent to the vehicle from an optical beacon installed on the roadside. The driver is alerted when the light is red. If there is a possibility that the driver may run the red light, the system issues further alerts.

2) Road-to-vehicle system for helping drivers timely start from stop

Traffic light status is sent to the vehicle from an optical beacon installed on the roadside. When a vehicle is stopped at a red light, the system displays the approximate remaining time before the red light turns green. The system also changes its display at a predetermined time before the light turns green to prompt the driver to prepare to accelerate, thus assisting in timely starts from stop.

3) Road-to-vehicle system for helping drivers notice stop signs

Stop-sign information is sent to the vehicle from an optical beacon installed on the roadside. The system alerts drivers to the presence of an intersection requiring them to come to a complete stop before proceeding. If there is the possibility that the driver will not stop, the system further alerts the driver to the stop sign.

4) Road-to-vehicle system for helping drivers avoid rear-ending other vehicles

Information regarding a vehicle ahead that has stopped or is traveling at a very low speed is sent to the vehicle traveling behind it by an optical beacon installed on the roadside. The system alerts the driver to the presence of the slow traveling or stopped vehicle ahead.

5) Road-to-vehicle system for helping drivers notice pedestrians crossing the street

Information indicating pedestrian crossings, pedestrians and or bicycles in close proximity is sent to the vehicle by an optical beacon installed on the roadside. When the driver makes a turn, the system alerts the driver to the presence of the pedestrians or bicycles.


Aichi Prefecture driving safety support systems tests

Test period December 1, 2008 to March 20, 2009 (approx. 4 months)
Location Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture
Test subjects 200 (100 members of the general public and 100 TMC employees)

The tests were conducted to evaluate the extent to which vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems can contribute to reducing traffic accidents and focused on how the presence or absence of information transmitted by communications infrastructure regarding traffic signals and stop signs affects traffic-accident rates.

The tests produced data on driver behavior under various driving conditions that will be applied to the development of vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems and to ongoing research aimed at improving traffic environments.

1 Such systems aim to help prevent traffic accidents by providing the driver with visual and aural information regarding traffic conditions, thereby drawing the driver's attention to potential dangers and giving the driver more options to avoid such dangers. Research and development is being carried out principally by Japan's National Police Agency, but TMC is involved in systems RandD and testing in conjunction with UTMS Japan's working group on such systems.

2 To take place at a facility of "Michi Navi Toyota", a Toyota City-operated website that provides transportation information

3 UTMS is engaged in the study, research and development of universal traffic management systems such as driving safety support systems. Universal traffic management systems provide traffic information to drivers in real time using infrared beacons that conduct two-way communications with individual vehicles. The systems also aim to achieve safe, comfortable and environmentally considerate mobility through the active management of traffic flow.