Toyota, which is trailing General Motors as the Second largest automaker in the world, didn't want to be left behind, so they have come up with a new system which Toyota says is the world's first system for detecting rear-end collisions before they happen.
How does it work? A radar device is installed in the rear bumper to detect a vehicle approaching from behind. Sensors in the front headrests detect the position of the driver's and front passenger's heads, and shift the headrests' position to reduce the risk of whiplash injury. Hazard lights also start flashing to warn the driver of a possible crash from behind.
Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said a sophisticated computer like "a human brain" will be installed in the Lexus LS luxury model going on sale in Japan in September to pack the latest safety features such as the rear-end pre-crash system.
"We are determined in our pursuit to develop vehicles that will have zero traffic accidents," he told reporters at a Toyota facility west of Tokyo.
Apart from that, there are also other safety features developed by Toyota. The one that cought my eye is the new pedestrians detection system. The system uses a camera referred to as a stereo camera that can detect information on three-dimensional objects, in addition to the more common radar. An infrared projector in the headlights supports night-time visibility.
So what does it actually do? Well similar to the Mercedes Benz system, when the Toyota system system detects a pedestrian or other objects, the seat belts retract. If the driver fails to brake, pre-crash brakes kick in to reduce speed to try not to run over that person.
Although Pedestrian safety isn't generally a big issue in Australia, in Japan Safety for pedestrians is an especially pressing need given the roads tend to be narrow and more congested, and pedestrian fatalities are more common than in the U.S. and Europe.
Although Toyota are keen to emphasis how much they care about people and safety, the research and developement of these systems is ultimately an effort by the world's leading automakers, including Toyota, to woo customers at a time when nearly all cars are becoming sophisticated.