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Toyota Safety Sense

Text | Desmond Chan
Photos | Low Fai Ming & Manufacturer

18 February 2020

We take a look at the safety systems offered in the Toyota Safety Sense, and how it improves your day-to-day safety and enhances your driving experience.
When it comes to designing and building cars, safety is of the utmost importance. No matter how beautiful, powerful and sophisticated a car is, if it cannot deliver absolute safety for its passengers, it's hard to build a compelling case for why customers would buy the car.

However, if you think about it, many of the safety aspects of driving (in the past) is the responsibility of the driver. The car may have high strength steel and multiple airbags to protect occupants in the case of a collision, but the day to day safety depends very much on the driver. Think back to your Traffic Police test and all the little minutia that caused you to pick up demerit points - things like checking your blind spot every time you move off, looking out for pedestrians, making sure to signal before changing lanes and etc.

Thankfully, modern technological advances have increasingly allowed carmakers to fit modern cars with a variety of driver aids. While the onus of safety is ultimately the driver's, these systems are there to assist the driver and reduce the chances of any accidents. In Toyota's case, these technologies come together to form the Toyota Safety Sense suite.

Pre-Collision System
Brake Assist
1. Pre-Collision System

One of the main dangers when driving is getting into an accident. Sometimes, it could be you as the driver losing concentration. Other times, it could be a case of the vehicle in front of you suddenly jam braking.

The Pre-Collision System uses an in-vehicle camera and a radar sensor to detect vehicles or pedestrians ahead of you. So, if you get too close to the car in front, the system will prompt you with audio and visual alerts to warn you to react. Certain cars are also equipped with Pedestrian Detection, which can react when an individual suddenly races in front of your car.

When applying brakes, the system may apply additional force using Brake Assist, helping you to come to a stop more quickly. If you do not brake, the car may automatically apply the brakes to reduce speed and mitigate the chance of a collision. This is important, not just in protecting occupants in the car, but other road users as well.
Lane Departure Alert
Steering Assist
2. Lane Departure Alert

Another possible danger when driving is the vehicle veering to either side. This can be caused by fatigue, lack of attention or just poor road judgement.

By using an in-vehicle camera to recognise vehicle lane markings, the Lane Departure Alert system will prompt you when you are veering out of your lane. This should alert you to steer your vehicle back into the centre of the lane.

Additionally, Steering Assist is a reactive system that helps to prevent the car from drifting out of the lane. When it senses the car drifting into the next lane, the system will make small corrective inputs to steer the car back into the lane. With both Steering Assist and the Lane Departure Alert System switched on, the car assists in maintaining its position in the middle of the lane, allowing you to have a more relaxing drive.

Automatic High Beams
automatically toggles
3. Automatic High Beams

A key element of safety is being able to see what's ahead of you. That of course requires the use of your head lights, and sometimes your high beam. When the road ahead if particularly dark, the system will automatically engage the high beam to allow you ample vision of the road ahead.

Leaving your high beam always on, however, can potentially blind oncoming drivers. With the Automatic High Beams, an in-vehicle camera to help detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and taillights of preceding vehicles, then automatically toggles between high and low beams accordingly. By toggling to the low beam, this ensures the oncoming driver won't be blinded, thus ensuring the safety of all parties on the road.
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
4. Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

Sometimes, you just want the car to do the work for you. Accelerating and braking can be wearisome at times, and when cruising on the highway, it's sometimes nice to be able to let the car do it for you.

With Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, the car can indeed take over some of these functions. DRCC uses vehicle-to-vehicle distance control, adjusting the car's speed to maintain a pre-set distance from the car in front of you. If the vehicle ahead is slowing down, DRCC will slow your car down without deactivating cruise control. When there's no longer a car ahead, the system will then accelerate back up to the set speed limit.

This is of course especially useful when travelling on the highway. Instead of having to constantly accelerating and braking, you set a fixed distance and allow the car to automatically do that work for you.
Toyota new models
Toyota Corolla Altis
Of course, these systems cannot fully replace the driver. It doesn't mean that with these systems in place, you can then take your attention off the road. However, it does mean that as much as possible, the car will pre-empt you of any potential dangers, giving you additional time to react accordingly.

Toyota models in Singapore offered with Toyota Safety Sense include the all new Corolla Altis, the Camry, the C-HR, the Harrier and the RAV4. The Supra also has its own specific range of safety systems called Toyota Supra Safety.

The development of these Toyota Safety Sense technologies reflects the brand's commitment to creating 'Ever Better Cars'.