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.