By the end of 2015, Toyota will make a new ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) safety package available on three models in Japan. The package, named ITS Connect, uses Japan’s standardized ITS frequency of 760 MHz to receive and share data transmitted by external infrastructure and other vehicles. Equipping ITS on these three models will make Toyota the world’s first automaker to bring a driver assist function that uses a dedicated ITS frequency to market.
ITS Connect uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication (collectively V2X) to provide drivers with the kind of safety information that cannot be picked up by onboard sensors. This includes traffic signal information and information about the presence of vehicles and pedestrians in blind spots.
By steadily expanding the range of vehicles equipped with ITS Connect, Toyota hopes to help reduce the number of accidents that occur near intersections. In Japan, this kind of accident accounts for roughly 40% of all traffic accidents.
V2I features in the ITS Connect package include:
Right-Turn Collision Caution. While waiting to turn right at an intersection fitted with the appropriate equipment, drivers are warned by an audio and visual alert under the following circumstances: if they take their foot off the brake and start to move forward when another car is approaching from the opposite direction, when a pedestrian is crossing the road to the right of the vehicle, or when there are other potential hazards the driver may not have noticed.
Red Light Caution. When approaching an intersection fitted with the appropriate equipment, if the signal is red and the driver does not ease off the accelerator, the system will warn the driver with an audio and visual alert.
Signal Change Advisory. When stopping at a red light at an intersection fitted with the appropriate equipment, a display counts down the remaining time until the traffic light changes.
V2V features in the package include:
Communicating Radar Cruise Control. The system responds almost instantaneously to the acceleration and deceleration of other vehicles equipped with Communicating Radar Cruise Control. This allows two or more vehicles to maintain a safe distance and minimize speed fluctuations, making traffic flow smoother.
Emergency Vehicle Notification. When an ambulance equipped with a compatible communication device is sounding its siren nearby, the system notifies the driver with an audio alert, and displays the approximate location and distance of the emergency vehicle, as well as the direction in which it is moving.
Toyota has been developing ITS-compatible interfaces in collaboration with organizations in both the public and private sectors, with the aim of turning this kind of research into products as soon as practically possible.
In 2013, Toyota participated in the ITS Green Safety public-private collaborative demonstration project to assess the social effects and acceptance of such systems and in October 2014, Toyota participated in the ITS Connect Promotion Consortium to make the necessary preparations for ensuring the smooth introduction and widespread adoption of the system. Going forward, the goal is to integrate packages such as ITS Connect with other vehicle control technologies.