Instead of just watching for hazards on the road, Toyota's latest precrash safety system is turning its attention to the most likely cause of an accident: you. This spring, Lexus models in Japan will be available with a camera mounted on the steering column that uses facial-recognition software to determine whether you're watching the road. If not, and the front-mounted radar sees you're getting too close to something, it will flash a light, then beep and tap the brakes if you persist in rubbernecking.
To prevent drivers from smashing into what they can't see, two as-yet-unnamed automakers will include Valeo Raytheon's blind-spot detection in 2007 models. The system's 2.4-GHz radar sensors will be mounted in the rear bumper and won't be affected by the elements. When a vehicle is in a driver's blind spot, an LED in the sideview mirror will light up. If the driver turns the steering wheel anyway, a beep will warn him of the hidden danger.
Pedestrian Protection System (PPS)
Radar sensors and computer-controlled braking will keep drivers safer than ever, but what about pedestrians? In case your adaptive cruise control fails to spot someone darting into the road, TRW Automotive is introducing the PPS system: if you smack a pedestrian, the hood is automatically raised to cushion his landing on the engine block. The system is already being tested, part of a drive to meet new European and Japanese regulations on pedestrian safety which are being phased in, starting with 2006 models.
Via 15 Tech Concepts You'll Need To Know In 2006