“SEE-THROUGH” car doors and automatic reversing brakes could cut motoring accidents by a fifth when new parking technology is launched next year.
Toyota has announced that its future models will be offered with four cameras mounted on the outside that give the driver a clear view around their car at roughly their eye level — as if the body of the car were transparent.
A dashboard screen displays the video feed from around the vehicle and operates much like Google Street View, with occupants able to swivel the display around 360 degrees to check for any errant children, kerbs or pillars that are out of their line of sight.
The new Prius, due next year, is expected to be the first car to feature the technology. Drivers without complete confidence in their own manoeuvres will be even more pleased to hear that an advanced automatic parking system linked to the same cameras, augmented by radar sensors, will be able to squeeze the car into tight bays and spaces at the side of the road that a driver might find too daunting unaided.
If a driver finds their car boxed in by other vehicles in front and behind, the system will take control of the steering prompting the driver to go forwards and backwards until the vehicle is free. Unlike other cars that have this park assist system, the Toyota will be able to override the driver and apply the brakes if it senses the car is about to hit an obstacle, whether in front or behind.