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Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007

Toyota unveils massive car simulator


Staff writer

SUSONO, Shizuoka Pref. — Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled on Monday its latest car simulator, which it says offers the most realistic virtual driving environment it has ever created.

News photo
Toyota Motor Corp. unveils a new vehicle simulator Monday at its technical center in Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture. HIROKO NAKATA PHOTO

The sedan simulator sits inside a 7.1-meter-diameter dome with a 360-degree concave video screen.

The entire dome moves on rails with a range of 35 meters in length and 20 meters in width, which Toyota says is the world's largest of its kind.

The system gives the driver a sense of speed, acceleration, turning and braking, Toyota Vice President Kazuo Okamoto told a news conference at Toyota's technical center in Susono.

Japan's top automaker said the simulator will aid development of accident-prevention technologies by analyzing the motion patterns of careless drivers who doze at the wheel, or those who drink and drive.

In the past, the carmaker only owned a simulator with a screen showing external views.

Toyota also showed off to reporters new technology to activate a car's brakes when the driver fails to stop at a red light.

If the driver is about to pass through a red light, a roadside sensor sends a radio signal to the vehicle, which touches off a warning signal and sound inside the vehicle.

If this fails to stop the driver, the system can also automatically activate the vehicle's brakes.

Okamoto said the technology needs further development for practical use and that he can not yet give a specific time schedule.



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