Automotive

Toyota details its Automated Highway Driving Assist system

Toyota details its Automated H...
Toyota's advanced active safety research vehicle
Toyota's advanced active safety research vehicle
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The Automated Highway Driving Assistant helps in highway following distance and lane maintenance
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The Automated Highway Driving Assistant helps in highway following distance and lane maintenance
Toyota's advanced active safety research vehicle
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Toyota's advanced active safety research vehicle

The race to the car that drives itself continues to heat up. Automakers around the world are eager to tease their latest autonomous capabilities. Most recently, we've seen a self-parking system from Volvo and a glimpse at Nissan's plans. Last week, Toyota became the latest automaker to show its hand, providing a look at its Automated Highway Driving Assist, a feature that should be available within the next two or three years.

Toyota's Automated Highway Driving Assistant is a two-part system that takes over acceleration, deceleration and lane maintenance on highways. The AHDA system represents a more capable, next generation version of features that are available today. It is the latest marketable technology to come from Toyota's advanced active safety research vehicle.

The first part of the system is the Cooperative-adaptive cruise control, essentially a next-gen automated cruise control. The system uses 700-MHz band vehicle-to-vehicle ITS communications to gather acceleration/deceleration data from the vehicles ahead and maintain a safe, uniform following distance. Toyota says that this cuts down on unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, improving fuel efficiency and reducing traffic congestion.

The Automated Highway Driving Assistant helps in highway following distance and lane maintenance
The Automated Highway Driving Assistant helps in highway following distance and lane maintenance

The second part of AHDA is Lane Trace Control, which Toyota described to us as a more advanced form of its Lane Keeping Assist system. Current-generation lane systems simply provide a warning or minimal amount of steering feedback when the vehicle begins to stray from the lane, but Toyota's Lane Trace adjusts the steering angle, torque and braking in order to maintain a driving line within the lane. It uses a combination of high-performance cameras, millimeter-wave radar and control software. When compared to Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Trace Control can operate at higher speeds and work within a wider range of driving conditions, including sharper road curves.

Toyota is trialling the AHDA system on the Shuto Expressway near the greater Tokyo area. It says that it will market the technology by the mid-2010s.

Source: Toyota

13 comments
Slowburn
All that junk on the car must really mess with the gas mileage.
Matthew Adams
I can't wait until these systems lower the risk of crashes for millions of people.
Gary Kreie
Chris, I am thrilled to see that Toyota will be taking a step toward car-to-car communication finally. I advocated this in a piece I wrote for my local paper: http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/metro/opinion/opinion-shaper-technology-can-open-road-to-fewer-car-crashes/article_573066ad-e2a5-524d-a044-f3bb6e2dfca3.html and started a Facebook blog in early 2012 called www.facebook.com/DANCE2022, where I quoted your piece today.
One question -- with this first step toward car-2-car comms, it is obvious that Toyotas will only be able to communicate with other new Toyotas that also have this feature at first. How did Toyota make the economic decisions to move forward? Will it be an option? How much would it cost, and who would pay that at first? I'm hoping Toyota will start having all their new cars broadcast automatically as standard equipment. They can then claim the mantle of being the safest car on the planet.
I have a 2014 Subaru Forester with Eyesight. I use adpative cruise on the higway every morning on my commute -- I like that invisible pillow in front of my car virtually guaranteeing I can never hit the car in front of me. But there are many instances where i have to hit cancel to let another car merge in -- as a courtesty. Car-to-car coms would allow this automatically, and would make adpative cruise smoother, since my car would not have to wait to react until a car ahead actually slowed. It could get a message that the brake was descending and brake lights are on before the car physically slows.
Also, any chance stoplights will be made soon that communicate with Toyotas? That would have an immediate benefit, since the car could time transit throught the light to avoid stopping if it knew the time to the next light change.
Dave Mikulec
Funny, I've been driving for almost forty years and never needed my car to drive itself.
"The first part of the system is the Cooperative-adaptive cruise control, essentially a next-gen automated cruise control. The system uses 700-MHz band vehicle-to-vehicle ITS communications to gather acceleration/deceleration data from the vehicles ahead and maintain a safe, uniform following distance. Toyota says that this cuts down on unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, improving fuel efficiency and reducing traffic congestion."
I've already got that. It's called the "gas pedal". Couple that with another amazing invention called "paying attention" and I can get over 30 mpg out of my 255,000 mile '01 Monte Carlo SS. And I commute 1000 miles a week.
Stan Sanders
Autopilots in cars will do nothing to stop global gridlock caused by the extra 2 billion population increase in the next 20 years. The automated cars will prevent traffic fatalities but not gridlock. Their will be one giant parking lot full of automated cars. The automated Verticraft (vertical takeoff and landing aircraft) will prevent gridlock and fatalities by traveling on non intersecting flight paths to the desired location.
Jay Finke
Should be required penalty for those that have been busted for texting and driving.
Sean Roper
Stan Sanders, I would rather spend my 2 hour commute in an isolated bubble reading or watching some form of entertainment or even finding some way to be productive while trapped in bumper to bumper traffic than staring at the back end of someone elses car. I'm interested in self driving cars for the return on quality of life. Even if cars could fly, it would be better if they could do it themselves without our input, from a "lost personal time" perspective.
Dave Mikulec, we can't all have the luck to have never been struck by someone who doesn't possess your superior driving skills. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to simply "be better". We can make better technology, but we cannot make better people. People are what they are. Cars are what we make them to be.
Ed
Uh...do we *REALLY* want to entrust automated driving to a company that is most famous for previous "unintended acceleration" issues that they won't talk about? Toyota is rife with issues involving their "drive-by-wire" system. In one famous issue years ago in Tokyo, a drive-by-wire bus was being test driven along an existing bus route when it suddenly went wild and no longer responded to the driver applying the brakes. The bus crashed into a bus stop luckily no injuries were reported...but the issue was that the bus did not stop when the driver applied the brakes. Toyota later found out that it was an illegal CB radio caused interference between the main computer and the braking computer and the braking computer never got the signal to apply the brakes. Up until the latest Lexus "unintended acceleration" problem, this article was available on the web...after the Lexus fiasco, it mysteriously disappeared...Then there was the Prius issue of not responding to driver controls...steering, braking or switching gears...nothing worked. Toyota claims user error, but as we know, if something as simple as a CB radio can cause a bus to crash, who knows what other kinds of interference can cause other problems? And with a history like Toyota's, do we really want *THEM* to be at the forefront of this technology?
Danock
Car-to-car com is a great idea--except for the bad guys who would send jamming/deceiving signals and cause huge accidents. Better to let each car be autonomous and monitor the other cars itself.
Joe F
Ed, actually Toyota is more famous for building reliable automobiles then for unintended acceleration. That was a bad time for them but it's foolish to say its their legacy. Anyway if cars ever do drive themselves its going to require development and cooperation between all brands.