In an effort to improve road safety, Toyota has rolled out a new package that connects cars to infrastructure – and it’s the first manufacturer to do so.
With the ability to assist and alert drivers when turning across traffic at junctions, approaching lights, and at pedestrian crossings, Toyota says that ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) Connect can be used to reduce the number of road traffic accidents.
ITS Connect helps drivers by alerting them with an audio and visual alert if they are about to endanger themselves or others in certain situations, such as if they’re about to pull across in front of an oncoming vehicle, if they start to turn when pedestrians are crossing ahead at a designated crossing, or if they have not released the accelerator as they approach a red light.
The system uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication over a dedicated radio frequency, set aside by the Japanese government. When an ITS Connect-equipped vehicle comes within 100 metres of a transmitted traffic-light-controlled junction, the car begins receiving data and a symbol on the instrument panel display appears to confirm this.
Currently available as a cost option on three models in the domestic Japanese range, Toyota hopes that ITS Connect will improve road safety, as in Japan, it’s at busy junctions and crossings where 45% of road traffic accident fatalities occur.
With 20 junctions equipped with transmitters already, a total that will reach almost 50 by March, it’s early days for the system, but it is gathering pace and popularity on the roads of Tokyo.
Maybe we will see it in Europe one day too – and with more Toyota cars better connected, the roads and junctions will be safer for us all.