Toyota safety systems get a big ability boost in 2018

By the end of this year, the first generation of Toyota Safety Sense, the carmaker’s suite of active and passive safety systems, will be standard on almost every Toyota. But there’s an even more powerful version of Toyota Safety Sense coming next year, and it too will become standard equipment.

Toyota announced today that it will roll out the second generation of Toyota Safety Sense on select Toyota models starting in mid-2018. The system will build upon the current TSS offering, adding several key systems that have trickled down (see, that does work, occasionally) from Lexus’ version of the suite. And just as TSS is currently offered, it will become standard equipment and not some expensive option.

Many of the additions give additional capability to already existing systems. For example, the autonomous emergency braking function will slow down faster, and it will now be able to detect pedestrians at night, as well as bicyclists. Lane-departure alert will feature improved road detection. Adaptive cruise control expands to include full-speed functionality, and its recognition has improved, as well.

But it’s not just improvements — there’s some new stuff in there, too. Road Sign Assist will display road sign information on either a head-up display or the gauge cluster, depending on how a vehicle is equipped. Lane Tracing Assist is just a fancy name for lane-keep assist, which provides steering support to keep a car centered in its lane.

Right now, Toyota offers two different TSS packages, depending on the model. TSS-C is the lightest package, offering just autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic high beams. The more capable TSS-P packages adds pedestrian detection, non-full-speed adaptive cruise control and steering assist for the lane departure warning system. Toyota promised that most of its cars would include AEB by 2017, and it looks like the automaker has made good on that promise.

Toyota is one of a growing number of automakers that has chosen to standardize some of its safety equipment before any government mandate to do so. Autonomous emergency braking will be standard on nearly every new car by 2022, but it’s good to know that it won’t be AEB by itself. As development continues and the economies of scale kick in, automakers will be able to add even more systems without hiding them behind expensive options packages.

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