About two months ago, my vehicle broke down and I had to buy a new one. I never was much of a car person, but something about buying a new vehicle makes you automatically feel like a car connoisseur. However, when your vehicle is kaput, you don't have a lot of time to shop around. If I would have had more time, I might have looked into (and held out for) Toyota's upcoming vehicles with new ITS-based safety features.
According to Reuters:
In a demonstration of its latest safety technologies at its Higashifuji Technical Center near Mt. Fuji, south of Tokyo, the world's biggest automaker invited journalists to its new facility that creates a virtual environment to analyze driving characteristics under various conditions such as drunkenness and drowsiness.
Toyota also demonstrated safety technology based on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), a safety system using global positioning system receivers and sensors to allow communication between cars and road infrastructure, pedestrians or other cars in an effort to avoid collisions.
Once the infrastructure is in place, new ITS-based safety features would be able to warn drivers when they are about to run a red light or stop sign, even braking automatically, or alert them of approaching pedestrians or cars in blind spots.
That is really what I needed about a month ago when I side-swiped another car that was in my blind spot when I looked before quickly merging into the next lane. Yes, in my new car. No, I wasn't sending or reading text messages, talking on the phone, or watching a movie on an in-dash DVD player. It was an accident (the first in over 12 years) that could have been avoided if I would have looked over my shoulder more than once before merging - OR - if I would have had a car that told me that someone was in my blind spot. I think Toyota is one to something here.
Does this ITS technology appeal to you? Would you pay extra to have it in your vehicle?
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.