Toyota details its Automated Highway Driving Assist system
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 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.
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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.
"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.
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.