Toyota is reviewing the agency’s proposed rules and will co-operate with the association, said Shino Yamada, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman for the firm.
“Our proposal would allow manufacturers the flexibility to design different sounds for different makes and models while still providing an opportunity for pedestrians, bicyclists and the visually impaired to detect and recognise a vehicle and make a decision about whether it is safe to cross the street,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
Carmaker unveils research to advance‘ co-pilot’ safety feature
Toyota is developing autonomous safety technologies to create a virtual “co-pilot” in vehicles that helps drivers avoid accidents rather than self- driving cars and trucks.
The carmaker revealed research it’s doing in Japan with a modified Lexus LS sedan fitted with advanced safety equipment at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
The car on display in Las Vegas has sensors and automated systems to observe, process and respond to its surroundings.
“For Toyota and Lexus, an autonomous vehicle does not translate to a driverless vehicle, but rather a car equipped with an intelligent, always-attentive co-pilot whose skills contribute to safer driving,” said Mark Templin, head of US sales for Lexus.
Toyota, Asia’s largest carmaker, and competitors already offer cars with features including cruise control that monitors and maintains a safe distance from vehicles ahead, sensors to warn of swerving out of a lane, and automated braking triggered when a vehicle doesn’t slow enough to avoid impact.
Improvements in such areas, rather than cars that fully drive themselves, are Toyota’s near-term priority.
Google has been testing a self-driving Prius in California for years. And the US Defense Department has sponsored autonomous-vehicle research for more than a decade.
Toyota has no plans for now to sell a self-driving vehicle, said Jim Pisz, the carmaker’s corporate manager for North American business strategy. “We have a different philosophy than other people who are doing autonomous car projects,” said Templin. “We believe the technology should make the driver better and that it should not be a driverless car.”
Toyota said its test vehicle is a “platform” to develop systems to aid driver awareness of traffic conditions, enabling motorists to make better decisions and improve driving skills. The company isn’t seeking authorisation to operate its autonomous car on public roads, said Pisz.
Nevada issued a license to Audi allowing the testing of self-driving vehicles on that state’s roads.
High hopes for Peugeot’s 2008
Peugeot has revealed the first images of its crucial new 2008 crossover this week. The urban 4x4 is based on the same chassis and engine family as the 208 hatchback, and will go on sale after a full public exposure at the upcoming Geneva motor show.
The range-topping engine will be the 150bhp 1.6 turbo petrol, but most will be sold with 1.6 HDI diesel power and it’s 4.1-metre length means it’s a spot-on rival for the likes of the Skoda Yeti, Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke.
It’s a crucial model for Peugeot, which is struggling with falling sales and a disappointing debut for its 208 supermini. Critically, the 2008 is a cornerstone of Peugeot’s planned expansion into Asian and South American markets and the car will be built in Brazil and China as well as France.