Toyota's new Prius is one of first that can talk to other cars

The new ITS system will help reduce accidents and deliver a smoother ride

The new version of Toyota's best-selling Prius hybrid will come with technology that allows it to talk to other vehicles and objects like traffic signals.

It's one of the first examples of such technology being installed in a mass market car, and while it will be available initially only in Japan, the work there should help its introduction in other countries.

It's possible in Japan thanks to the country's standardization on a single frequency for so-called "Intelligent Transportation Systems." The 760MHz band was freed up when analog TV broadcasting ended in Japan in 2011.

At intersections equipped with the technology, traffic signals will beam data to cars about their status. So if the driver doesn't notice a red light, the car will automatically slow down because it knows it should stop.

Additional sensors at intersections will monitor approaching cars and pedestrians crossing the street, so drivers should get a warning if they attempt a right turn across traffic (equivalent to a left turn in the U.S. and many countries) when a car is approaching, or if someone is crossing the street.

151209 toyota its 2 Toyota Motor

An example of a turn warning in Toyota's ITS system

And it doesn't only receive information. The ITS system in the Prius transmits data on the car's speed, acceleration and deceleration to vehicles behind that are equipped with the same technology. That means the car behind can more easily maintain a safe distance, speeding up and slowing down as the car in front does.

The technology also receives data from transponders fitted to emergency vehicles, alerting drivers to their location and direction of travel so the road can safely be kept clear.

151209 toyota its 1 Toyota Motor

An ITS system installed at an intersection in Japan

Modern cars are already packed with safety features that attempt to warn about things like nearby pedestrians, but many are based on radar, so the pedestrian has to be in proximity of the car before a warning sounds.

The new system will give a little more warning and could prevent situations where the radar-based system needs to bring a car to an emergency stop.

Auto makers around the world are looking at similar technology as part of their research into ways technology can improve driving and make our roads safer.

The ultimate goal is complete driving automation, but that may be decades away. In the meantime, technologies like ITS should help improve road safety.

151209 prius 3 Toyota Motor

Toyota's fourth-generation Prius

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?