Toyota’s ITS Proving Ground Testing for Passenger and Pedestrian Safety

Toyota ITS Proving Ground

Toy­ota Motor Corp. is tak­ing intel­li­gent trans­port sys­tems (ITS) seri­ously at its Higashi-Fuji Tech­ni­cal Cen­tre in Susono City, Japan, located on about eight acres that repli­cates a real urban envi­ron­ment. That includes inter­sect­ing streets, pedes­trian cross­walks, and traf­fic sig­nals. The ITS Prov­ing Ground was opened in Novem­ber of last year to run a num­ber of inter­ac­tive tests between specially-equipped Toy­ota vehi­cles. The cars include fea­tures such as two-way radio com­mu­ni­ca­tions, voice-based warn­ing sys­tems and on-dash LCD dis­plays that can show the sta­tus of nearby traf­fic lights and indi­cate the posi­tions of oncom­ing vehi­cles that could be obstructed from view. To meet­ing its objec­tives, the ITS has been equipped with opti­cal bea­cons, government-allocated 760 MHz trans­mit­ters to link the var­i­ous ITS detec­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems, vehi­cle detec­tion sen­sors and pedes­trian detec­tion sensors.

“The ITS Prov­ing Ground will be used to expe­dite the devel­op­ment of infrastructure-cooperative safe dri­ving sup­port sys­tems with the aim of reduc­ing traf­fic acci­dents at inter­sec­tions and acci­dents involv­ing pedes­tri­ans,” said Seigo Kuzu­maki, sec­re­tary of chief safety tech­nol­ogy offi­cer and project gen­eral man­ager at Toy­ota. “On pub­lic roads, we will mainly test the effec­tive­ness and the user accep­tance of systems.”

At the ITS track, the stop lights, pedes­trian cross­ings and other traf­fic sen­sors are con­nected to their own two-way trans­mit­ters. The idea is that an ITS-equipped vehi­cle can query nearby traf­fic con­trol sys­tems via radio about approach­ing vehi­cles and pedes­tri­ans, as well as the sta­tus of stop lights, and inform those sys­tems of the ITS car’s posi­tion in real time. Toy­ota is look­ing into pedestrian-to-vehicle com­mu­ni­ca­tions, which includes analy­sis of acci­dents involv­ing pedes­tri­ans and pre­vent­ing these col­li­sions with pedes­trian detec­tion sen­sors installed on the road to detect pedes­tri­ans and warn cars about their pres­ence. The ITS Prov­ing Ground reflects Toyota’s cor­po­rate goal to achieve “zero casu­al­ties from traf­fic acci­dents,” Kuzu­maki said.