Considering that nighttime driving is often the most dangerous, the new Toyota Crown Hybrid could help make the roads safer by giving drivers a kind of nocturnal vision.
The newest Crown Hybrid model, released in May 2008, features an updated "Night View" system that displays a view of the road at night, including pedestrians. While the previous Night View display appeared on the windshield and overlapped with the real view ahead, the new model incorporates the display on an LCD meter located on the dashboard just above the steering wheel.
With the device, drivers can see the upcoming twists and turns on a dark road beyond the area of the car´s headlights. Its sensors can also recognize pedestrians in or near the road, who are displayed as one of a number of prepared pedestrian images that most closely matches their shape. When the system detects a pedestrian, a yellow box highlights their location on the LCD display. A yellow frame also appears on the entire screen to attract the driver´s attention.
The LCD meter has a 1280 x 480 resolution, and works at speeds of between 15 and 60 kph (10 and 40 mph) - at higher speeds, the process circuit has difficult recognizing pedestrians. In addition to speed, rainy conditions and extreme levels of darkness also affect the pedestrian detection function, and can force the function to shut off.
At the request of a number of users, Toyota may also add a feature that recognizes bicyclists and animals in a future model. Currently, the LCD meter adds significant cost to the car, but Toyota hopes to reduce the cost in the future, as well as include the display in other vehicle models.
Explore further: LiquidPiston unveils quiet X Mini engine prototype