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Toyota begins car communication tests on heels of Ann Arbor trial

Back in August we discussed a large scale test that was kicking off in Ann Arbor to test vehicle-to-vehicle crash avoidance technology. The car accident prevention systems have been equipped in the vehicles of eight automakers and given to 3,000 Ann Arbor drivers for a year-long test run. Michigan, however, is not the only place where such innovation is happening.

Toyota recently announced that it is testing similar car safety systems in Japan. Those tests are taking place within a facility the size of several baseball stadiums, while the U.S. test is taking place here on Michigan's roads.

The Toyota car accident prevention technologies are different in that the cars at the test site will respond to sensors and transmitters that have been installed on streets, as well as communicate with each other. The communication systems will be triggered when a car drives through a red light, cars drive in blind spots or pedestrians enter the roadways.

For example, when a car approaches a red light, a voice will alert the driver. That way, if he or she is distracted and not noticing the light, he or she has a chance to hear about the light. When a pedestrian crosses the street, a beeping sound will go off in the car and an image of a person will appear on a screen in front of the driver.

Toyota has said that in 2014 it will expand the tests to the roadways in Japan and tests have also been planned in the U.S.

The company believes the technology will help curb car accidents that take place in intersections--it has been estimated that about half of all accidents occur in intersections.

While such smart-car technology is very intriguing, research has suggested that such warning systems do have their limits. Of course, the warnings will only prevent accidents if drivers heed them. And, some worry that should drivers become too dependent on warnings and car-to-car communication, car accidents may occur when such systems give out.

Source: Associated Press, "Toyota tests cars that communicate with each other," Nov. 12, 2012

  • Our law firm helps victims of car accidents seek compensation for their injuries. More information is available on our Ann Arbor Car Accident page.

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