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Toyota to offer anti-collision, safe-driving packages from 2015

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. will start offering anti-collision, safe-driving packages for its cars next year, aiming to make them available for most of its passenger models by 2017 in Japan, North America and Europe.

The packages, one for compact cars and another for midsize and luxury vehicles, combine a camera and radar to help prevent or mitigate collisions at certain speeds, the world’s biggest automaker said Wednesday.

Toyota did not list prices for the safety packages, saying instead that they will be offered at price levels low enough to “encourage widespread use.”

The Japanese firm is one of many domestic and foreign carmakers racing to develop technologies that could ultimately eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries.

Some of the automakers, such as General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co., are even pursuing self-driving cars. Toyota, for its part, has developed a prototype featuring automated highway driving.

Wednesday’s announcement of the anti-collision, safe-driving packages will be a step toward wider use of computer-assisted driving systems, Toyota said, adding that it will benefit countries like Japan, where the population is aging.

Both packages integrate Toyota’s existing technologies. The one for compact cars, scheduled for launch in the spring, uses a camera and laser radar to help prevent or mitigate collisions with objects ahead, keep the car in its lane and ensure optimal forward visibility during nighttime driving.

The anti-collision, automatic braking system would work when a car is going between 10 and 80 kph.

Another package including a camera and a millimeter-wave radar device will be made available starting next summer for midsize and high-end models, providing the ability to detect both pedestrians and vehicles in addition to the three features touted by the more modest driving package.

The same package also offers an automatic speed control that can keep a car at a certain distance from the vehicle in front.