The latest Toyota Driver Awareness Research Vehicle has made its debut at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado.
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Dubbed DARV 1.5, the car uses Microsoft tech gear and InfoSys biometrics software. It was developed by the Toyota's research safety centre and based on the latest Avalon, which forms the basis for the current generation Lexus ES.

The car aims to simplify the amount of information displayed to the driver. Using data about the driver's schedule and destination, DARV will present present necessary information, such as potential fuel stops along the way and weather along the route, on a side window prior as you approach the car.

Inside the cabin there's a Kinect motion sensor, which identifies the driver based on their body frame. Depending on who's at the wheel, DARV will disable or enable certain control functions. The latest DARV can also monitor and score a driver's safety levels based on the decisions that he or she makes.

DARV 1.5 follows on from the original DARV, which was revealed late last year and based on the North American Toyota Sienna people mover.

While the DARV cars showcase tech that might appear in vehicles of the future, Toyota is also funding research into driver awareness.

In one study funded by the company, the MIT AgeLab found that the mental demands of using voice control in a car were lower than expected. That's because, in many cases, drivers slowed down, increased the distance between themselves and other cars, and refrained from changing lanes when interacting verbally with their car.

The researchers from MIT did find, though, that some drivers tended to take their eyes off the road for longer than expected when using voice command systems. Many of these drivers wanted to face the infotainment system's main screen when addressing it; this behaviour was more prevalent in older drivers.