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Toyota Shows Off New Safety Features

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer July 2011

Toyota recently announced several new active safety systems designed to bring accident avoidance technology to a new level. Displayed at the Toyota Safety Technology Media Tour in Japan, the new features include automatic steering that can help avoid a collision, adaptive high-beam headlights, advanced pedestrian collision measures and other new high-tech safety developments.

The most exciting technology displayed by Toyota was an updated version of its already-existing pre-collision system, or PCS, that features accident avoidance countermeasures. Toyota says that while the current PCS was designed to prevent collisions by automatically braking when an accident is imminent, the updated version can even steer when necessary, maneuvering away from collisions that can't be avoided by just braking.

Another of Toyota's new technologies announced at the media tour was a shielded high-beam headlight. Dubbed Adaptive Driving Beam, Toyota says the new feature cuts down on glare directed towards oncoming drivers while still allowing motorists to maintain high-beam illumination. This should lead to better night vision for drivers of ADB-equipped vehicles, which Toyota says will lead an overall reduction in accidents.

Many of Toyota's remaining high-tech safety gadgets were based around pedestrian protection. One further enhances the automaker's pre-collision system with millimeter-wave radar and stereo cameras specifically designed to detect pedestrians, while another - known as the Pop-up Hood - helps reduce pedestrian injury in case of accidents by raising the rear of the hood to increase space underneath.

Toyota also unveiled what it calls a Reverse Warning Navigation System, designed to detect wrong-way driving on highways. According to Toyota, when the system recognizes wrong-way travel, visual and audible alerts warn the driver to stop and turn around.

While Toyota has not announced when it plans to begin implementing its new safety features on production cars, we'd bet their arrival isn't too far off - particularly as Toyota remains focused on mending its reputation following last year's recalls that affected millions of vehicles globally.

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