Friday, September 27, 2013

Toyota wants to make night-time driving a lot safer

Do you often times find yourself driving at night, only to come across a vehicle headed in your direction with their high beams on? As they approach from the distance, you can't help but to try and shield yourself from the intense blast of their brights, assaulting your eyes and making you recall that famous Manfred Mann song, "Blinded by the light." Several excruciating seconds pass until at long last, the driver is no longer in your field of vision. Sound like a scenario you've been in before? Toyota wants to fix that, by introducing a new adaptive driving beam technology that could automatically control how the brights in vehicles shine.

Toyota headlight technology, high beam, automatic lights

How does it work? Overseas, Toyota has already produced 16,000 vehicles that come equipped with a special camera built into the headlights. When the vehicle detects another car on the road, it dims the high beams ever so slightly, to reduce the portion of light that would normally shine in the other driver's face. This allows drivers to keep their high beams on, which allows more illumination (and better visibility) of the road, increasing safety. It's important to note that unlike other high-beam features car makers have introduced in the past, this one doesn't just turn the beams off and on....it allows the driver to keep their high beams on the entire time!

Here's where things gets strange, though. In 1999, a U.S. law was passed that forbid the use of camera/headlight technology in America. According to the law, headlight beams must either run in high or low mode, with no settings in-between. Toyota has recently been petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to get this reversed, as they say that it could be a useful tool in helping to reduce the number of annual fatalities caused by dark driving situations.

Vehicles such as the Toyota Sienna and Toyota Camry already have similar safety features (available on certain models), that utilize cameras to improve your field of vision, such as the blind spot monitor/rear cross traffic alert. It works by displaying an icon in your side-view mirror when another vehicle is approaching. Should the NHTSA ruling get reversed, it wouldn't be difficult for Toyota to start including the high beam feature in these (and other) vehicles, in addition to the safety features they're already available with. Do you think cars would benefit from being equipped with additional cameras and computers that assist our driving experience? Would having your high beams on more often help you to drive better at night?


4 comments:

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  2. If we will have a look on the history of Toyota inventions in the auto-industry then we can find there are lots that Toyota contributes in the development of auto industry. We can simply have a look on the airbags, Toyota is the first to launch 9 airbags. It was great to read about the adaptive driving beam technology, that is really helpful for drivers to have a safe drive on ride. Driving at night is the most risky and such things should be there to help drivers. You can get details on all the features of Toyota from Toyota Service Milwaukie, OR. Good article! Keep posting.

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