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Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Toyota develops system for predicting and reacting to rear-end auto collisions

AP , OYAMA, JAPAN

A man drives a Toyota equipped with the latest safety technology at Toyota Safety Education Center in Oyama, west of Tokyo, yesterday. Sensors in the front headrests detect the position of the driver's and front passenger's heads and shift the position of the headrests to reduce the risk of whiplash injury.

PHOTO: AP

Cars equipped with the latest safety technology already warn drivers about oncoming cars. Toyota said yesterday it has developed the world's first system for detecting rear-end collisions before they happen.

The Japanese automaker said in a statement it had developed a radar device that 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 shifts the position of the headrests to reduce the risk of whiplash injury, it said. Hazard lights also start flashing to warn the driver of a possible crash from behind.

Toyota Motor Corp 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.

The rear-end crash system will not yet be offered in the US and European plans are undecided, but the Lexus going on sale will offer the other safety features, said executive vice-president Kazuo Okamoto.

Another new safety feature developed by Toyota can detect pedestrians in addition to oncoming cars and other obstacles, it said.

The system uses a newly developed camera called stereo camera that can detect information on three-dimensional objects, in addition to the more common radar. An infrared projector in the headlights supports nighttime visibility, it said.

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