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Toyota Promises Collision-Prevention Tech for All Cars

New technology will let your car be your co-pilot

Your car soon will do more to help avoid a crash. As for one day leaving all the driving to the vehicle while you relax in back, don’t get your hopes up.

That’s the message from safety executives at Toyota, who on Thursday promised by 2017 to have collision-prevention technology installed across its U.S. line-up.

But for now at least, every vehicle the company designs and builds will require someone in the driver seat.

Read: Are Insurers Ready for Driverless Cars?

Toyota expects by “mid-decade” to roll out safety systems in the U.S. that allow cars to steer themselves enough to stay in the centre of a lane. And to keep the driver focused on the task at hand, the cars will also feature a camera that monitors the driver’s eyes and makes sure that hands are on the steering wheel.

Toyota’s system might eventually have the ability to warn you if your freeway lane is going away, or merging traffic could hit your car. That technology is still being developed and is limited by mapping data nationwide, the safety executives said at a safety briefing.

Read: Hands-Free Research an “Early Warning System” for Insurers

The company sees a gradual shift toward cars doing most of the driving work, with each increment helping people to gain trust in the automated systems. But it says the industry is more than a decade away from making a car that could drive itself, due to technology limitations and legal issues.

“Toyota will not be developing a driverless car,” says Seigo Kuzumaki, the company’s deputy chief safety technology officer.

Toyota plans to put collision-prevention systems on all cars in its U.S. model lineup by 2017. The systems are likely to include radar-activated cruise control, although Toyota said details will be released later.

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