Toyota, Lexus promise to make automated braking standard by next year

March 22, 2016

Last week, 20 automakers that account for 99 percent of the U.S. car market agreed to make automated braking standard on all new vehicles by the year 2022. 

Toyota and Lexus fans, however, will see many of their favorite rides equipped with the safety technology far earlier. Toyota says that nearly all new Toyota and Lexus vehicles will come with automated braking by the end of 2017, five years ahead of the deadline set out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

And in fact, the news is even a little better than that, because automated braking in Toyota and Lexus vehicles typically comes as part of larger, high-tech safety packages known as "Toyota Safety Sense" and "Lexus Safety System +", respectively. Those systems will become standard on 25 of 30 models by the end of 2017.

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Toyota Safety Sense comes in two versions: TSS-C and TSS-P. Both include the Pre-Collision System explained in the video above. It sounds an alarm when it senses a collision is imminent, and it will apply the brakes itself to reduce speed if a driver fails to act.

Toyota Safety Sense-C also includes Lane Departure Alert, creating audio and visual alarms to let drivers know when they've drifted from their travel lane. Safety Sense-C includes Automatic High Beam headlights, too, which switch between low- and high-beams depending on light levels and the proximity of other vehicles.

Toyota Safety Sense-P is very similar, though its Pre-Collision System also includes pedestrian detection. TSS-P includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, too, which is what many now call adaptive cruise control. This system keeps an eye on the vehicle in front of the Toyota and adjusts speed to maintain a safe distance. Automatic High Beam headlights aren't included on TSS-P.

READ: Study: 400 million of us will share autonomous cars by 2030

Lexus Safety Sense + offers a Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam headlights, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control--in other words, the whole megillah. 

Of the five Toyota and Lexus models that won't come with those safety packages by the end of next year, two already offer automatic emergency braking as a standard feature: the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and the Scion iA.

That means that only three U.S. models won't have emergency braking as a standard feature by the end of 2017: the Toyota 4Runner, the Toyota 86 (formerly known as the Scion FR-S), and the Lexus GX.  Presumably those will be added to the automated braking list before 2022, but there's no word on just when.

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