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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota has unveiled its new Camry-based Sienna people-mover with an optional remote controlled, swivelling passenger seat to make entering and exiting the car easier for people with disabilities.

The Auto Access Seat can be rotated 90 degrees and lowered to within 50cm of the ground via buttons on both sides of the seat base or a wireless remote control.

Available in the LE and XLE variants of the new 2011 Sienna from February in the US, it makes Toyota the first North American manufacturer to offer a factory-fitted, electrically powered assistance seat in one of its vehicles.

The seat has a number of smart features including auto-recline for safe head clearance during entry and egress, park-shift interlock which prevents seat movement while the vehicle is in motion, sliding door sensors with audible beeps and manual retraction capability in the event of a power failure.

The Auto Access Seat can slide back and forth 10cm, recline up to 24 degrees and is equipped to carry a child safety seat.

Pricing has not yet been released but Toyota sources at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit have suggested it could be comparable to similar aftermarket systems.




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