Toyota have refined and updated their futuristic DARV model, which aims to reduce driver distraction and vastly improve safety standards.
The original DARV, or Driver Awareness Research Vehicle, was based on an MPV and debuted at last year’s Los Angeles motor show.
Since then, the company have further researched and refined the concepts behind the vehicle to produce the DARV 1.5, which they claim is “a smarter car for safer driving”, as well as the design of the car itself.
As a result, the new DARV 1.5 is packed with even more technology than the first, and also comes in a slick new saloon format.
Conceived as a joint venture between Toyota and Microsoft Research, the original car was designed to reduce distractions for drivers before the key is even put in the ignition.
Chuck Gulash, Director of Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Centre, said: “Cars have become an interaction of multiple screens. Initially, there was the windscreen, and rear window and the rear and side-view mirrors.
“We now have multiple gauge clusters, large information screens and heads-up displays all feeding us information and competing for our attention.”
Using Microsoft technologies like the Kinect motion-sensing device, the car’s interactive systems display important and personalised information on the side window when the driver approaches the car.
As well as that, the DARV mixes a range of gesture and voice control and key fob functionality, drivers can bring up navigation and weather information, plan routes and even schedule appointments for the day.
Toyota claim that by making these functions easier, the driver can focus more on the road ahead.
New features added to the DARV 1.5 include a lock-in function which can identify the driver by tracking their body frame and can adapt in-car conditions based on their personal preferences.
In addition, advances have been made with wearable devices such as smart watched, which can be used to control vehicle functions, and the car can also measure a driver’s behaviour and give them a ‘score’ based on safe driving choices.
Osamu Nagata, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, said: “Slowly but surely, new technologies are changing how we think about automobiles and transportation, from intelligent automated systems that team up with drivers to improve safety, to zero-emissions vehicles that emit nothing but water vapour.
“These technologies will help save lives, improve the environment, create jobs and help us maintain technical leadership in a field that is an important contributor to economic growth.”