Tony O'Kane | Apr 21, 2009

Toyota will showcase its safety enhancing infrastructure-linked road technology in Japan from today until Friday, giving the Japanese public a close-up look at what Toyota reckons will be the road of the future.

The concept of road-and-vehicle integration isn't exactly a new one, but due to the logistical, technological and legislative difficulties in developing and installing such a system, the idea of a road that communicates to cars has mostly been a pipe-dream until now.

Toyota Integrated Safety Management Concept

Toyota aims to change that. The Japanese automaker's display is based on its "Integrated Safety Management Concept", and it aims to improve road safety and aid traffic flow by accomplishing the following:

  • Giving drivers forewarning of red lights, and alerting the driver if they may be at risk of running a red.
  • Providing an in-car countdown to green lights, to get traffic flowing as quickly as possible.
  • Alerting drivers of stationary vehicles ahead, as well as stop signs and pedestrian crossings.

If all of these nanny systems sound like the product of some Orwellian dystopia to you, then relax. It's still some distance away.

Japan's Intelligent Transport Systems Promotion Council aims to have the technology up and running on some Japanese roads by March 2011, and considering the rest of the world has yet to catch up to Japan's super-advanced vending machine technology, it'll likely be much longer before we see such tech on our own roads.

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