[tabi] FW: Lexus New Technology

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2012 18:00:06 -0400

I was really surprised to see this technology on the consumer market so
fast!  And especially surprised by the cameras that monitor the driver's
eyes for lack of attention.  This is going to be great for us as
passengers or pedestrians!





Subject: Lexus New Technology


A car you can't crash (really)

By Doron Levin, contributor


August 13, 2012: 7:00 AM ET 


At 29 miles per hour or less, Lexus's new flagship sedan prevents
drivers from crashing into pretty much anything or anyone.

FORTUNE -- Automotive safety systems that sense when a vehicle is about
to crash and initiate braking and tighten seatbelts to mitigate injury
are evolving into systems that can prevent some collisions entirely.

The 2013 Lexus LS460, Toyota's (TM
<http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=TM> ) luxury flagship,
begins arriving in the U.S. in November with an "advanced pre-collision
system" available as an option. When driving at speeds below 29 miles
per hour, the system uses radar and optical sensors to determine if a
car is likely to collide with a pedestrian or object ahead. The Toyota
system can override a distracted, inattentive or impaired driver and
bring the car to a stop prior to impact. It could prove especially
helpful to preventing pedestrian injuries and deaths.

Toyota's safety device, which one day could be equipped on many if not
all vehicles, marks yet another step in the continuous automation of
driving, a process that many believe leads inevitably to driverless
vehicles in the not too distant future. "These kind of systems represent
more progress toward driverless cars," said Rebecca Lindland, an
industry analyst for HIS automotive. "We could see the first driverless
cars in ten years. People have trouble believing it. No one could
believe that horses would give way to automobiles."

General Motors (GM <http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=GM> ),
Ford Motor (F <http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=F> ),
Volkswagen and indeed most automakers and automotive suppliers are
working on digital-mechanical systems that are integral to driverless or
so-called autonomous driving. In two years VW's Audi luxury division has
hinted it will offer a system on its next-generation A8 flagship that
allows a driver in low-speed stop-and-go freeway traffic to put the
vehicle on "automatic pilot." In this mode the vehicle automatically
speeds, accelerates and stops with the flow of traffic and avoids other
vehicles around it.

Toyota engineers and technicians set up a test course for journalists in
a large parking lot in east Palo Alto, near Google (GOOG
<http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=GOOG> ) headquarters, to
demonstrate its new system. (Google has made headlines with it
driverless car initiative.) I was among those invited to drive a
prototype of the LS460 equipped with the system toward a cloth barrier
depicting a graphic of a car.

After accelerating to about 30 miles per hour, I was aiming the LS460
toward the cloth target. First, a visual warning of an obstacle ahead
appeared on the dashboard. Then, a chime sounded. Still, somewhat
nervously, I kept my foot on the accelerator. A collision seemed
inevitable when suddenly the car took control and braked us to a
screeching halt just short of the barrier.

A technician accompanying me in the front-passenger seat explained that
the braking force of the system was roughly twice what a normal driver
could accomplish by stamping on the pedal. Another system called the
Driver Attention Monitor System trains cameras on the driver's face and
determines when a driver has become distracted, taken eyes off the road
too long or has fallen asleep -- and flashes a warning and sounds a
chime. If those steps don't work, the system can apply the brakes.

Though Toyota is working on autonomous driving at research and
development centers in the U.S. and Japan the automaker has been
reluctant to release details of when a fully autonomous car might be
ready for testing. Google's driverless car project has tested a modified
Toyota Prius on public roads for over 100,000 miles without an incident
beyond a minor fender-bender. In 2011 Nevada became the first state in
the U.S. to modify its traffic laws to permit operation of a driverless
car. Google was issued the first permit for a Prius in March of this

Lexus's new LS is far from ready to drive entirely on its own. But its
owners may begin to understand how the technology could work if the
Advanced Pre-Collision System saves them from an accident.

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