If you’re prone to jaywalking, make sure you do it in front of a Toyota. The company has been working on a pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist system that allows its cars to steer away from people who hop in front of them.
Like the Ford auto-steering system we wrote about last week, Toyota’s pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist kicks in when automatic braking alone is insufficient, such as when the vehicle is travelling too fast, or when a pedestrian suddenly steps into the vehicle’s path.
Sensors on the vehicle scan the road ahead for jaywalkers, before an on-board computer issues a visual warning on the dashboard immediately in front of the driver. If the driver fails to take action, the system will issue an audible alarm, prepare the brakes and, if the collision can’t be avoided by braking alone (and there is sufficient room for avoidance) it’ll steer the vehicle away from the pedestrian.
Toyota is also busy testing Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA), which uses a suite of automated driving technologies that facilitate safer, easier motorway driving. AHDA uses cooperative-adaptive cruise control, which wirelessly talks to vehicles up ahead to maintain a safe distance, and Lane Trace Control, which steers the vehicle within its lane, to enable virtually autonomous driving.
Both pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist and AHDA are being put through their paces on a modified Lexus LS at the Toyota Research Institute of North America in Saline, Michigan.
Toyota plans to release the former on road-going cars sometime after 2015.