Features in new Japanese models (1): Toyota, Lexus and Nissan

Use of front pedestrian braking expands; autonomous driving technology debuts

2017/03/24

Summary

The
Nissan Serena adopts single-lane autonomous driving technology
The Nissan Serena adopts single-lane autonomous driving technology (Photo: Nissan)

  This report is the first of a series of three that will focus on new features available in models released for sale in Japan by Japanese OEMs during the period August 2015 to February 2017. The first two reports will feature 21 new and fully redesigned models and one face-lifted model. The vehicles that will be profiled are as follows: five from the Suzuki brand; four from Honda; three each from Toyota and Lexus; two each from Nissan, Subaru and Daihatsu; and one from Mazda (rebadged cars are excluded).

  Among features for improving driving performance, there has been increasing adoption of torque vectoring systems, which improve cornering performance by distributing optimum torque to each of the drive wheels. Use of continuously variable damper systems that constantly regulate damping force in response to driving conditions expanded, mostly in high-performance vehicles. As for collision safety features, Subaru adopted pedestrian protection airbags that cover the lower part of the windscreen and A-pillar, a first for cars produced in Japan.

  Regarding driving assistance features, availability of front pedestrian braking is expanding significantly. Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism started evaluations for automatic braking systems that respond to other vehicles and lane departure warning systems in 2014, and for front pedestrian braking in 2016 under the assessment of preventive safety features. Moreover, Nissan adopted single-lane autonomous driving technology in a mass-produced vehicle, another first for a Japanese OEM.

  Among visibility features, an increasing number of vehicles installed compact and energy-saving single-LED, bi-functional projector headlamps that are capable of switching between high- and low-beam with a single LED. Utilization started for LED sequential turn lamps, wherein a string of lamps illuminate sequentially from the innermost to the outmost lamp. As for comfort and convenience features, hands-free automatic sliding doors and rear doors are finding expanded use. Toyota and Honda models are increasingly equipped with driving support systems that use vehicle-to-X and vehicle-to-vehicle communication (traffic signal information for Honda vehicles).

  This report focuses on features available in Toyota, Lexus, and Nissan brand vehicles. The second report will focus Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki, and Daihatsu models. The third report will focus on equipment in new mini vehicles.



Advanced features made available by Japanese OEMs in their new models

(New models launched in Japan from August 2015 to February 2017)

Features Models
Driving performance Torque vectoring system Lexus GS F, Subaru Impreza Sport/Levorg STI Sport
Continuously variable damping system Lexus GS F/RX/LX, Honda NSX/Accord, Subaru Levorg STI Sport
Collision safety Pedestrian protection airbag Subaru Impreza Sport
Driving/parking assistance Front pedestrian braking Toyota Prius PHV/C-HR/Prius, Lexus GS F/RX/LX, Honda Freed/Accord/Clarity Fuel Cell, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Impreza Sport/Levorg STI Sport, Suzuki Swift/Ignis/Solio Bandit
Single-lane autonomous driving technology Nissan Serena
Visibility Single-LED, bi-functional projector headlamp Toyota C-HR/Prius, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Impreza Sport, Suzuki Swift/Ignis/Solio Bandit, Daihatsu Boon
LED sequential turn lamp Toyota C-HR, Lexus RX/LX
Comfort/convenience Hands-free automatic sliding door and rear door Lexus RX, Nissan Serena
Driving support system using V2X and X2X communication Toyota Prius PHV/Prius, Lexus RX, Honda Freed/Accord



Related reports:

Equipment on new European models: PSA, Renault, FCA, GM, Ford and Volvo (Nov. 2016)
U.S. OEMs expanding use of front pedestrian braking on new models (Sep. 2016),
Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi extending active safety features (Oct. 2016),
Increased prevalence of advanced safety packages on new Japanese models (Jul. 2015),
Innovative features in Japanese minicars (Jul. 2015),
Major features of new Hyundai-Kia lineup highlighted by increased use of ADAS (Jun. 2015)



Toyota installs Toyota Safety Sense P in Prius, Prius PHV, and C-HR

  Toyota has installed Toyota Safety Sense P, an active safety package for mid-sized and high-end cars in the redesigned Prius and Prius PHV, as well as the new C-HR compact SUV. The package uses a millimeter-wave radar and monocular camera to provide the pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection and dynamic radar cruise control, which are not covered by the Toyota Safety Sense C in compact cars (it uses a laser radar and monocular camera).

  Toyota also offered the first AWD version of the Prius by adding HV4WD, an electrical AWD system (E-Four) for compact and fuel-efficient vehicles. Regarding features for improving driving stability and riding comfort, the Prius, Prius PHV, and C-HR are equipped with a sprung mass damping control system as standard equipment. This system suppresses the pitching of the vehicle by controlling the torque of the engine and motor based on road conditions.

The Toyota C-HR
The Toyota C-HR features Toyota Safety Sense P as standard equipment (Photo: Toyota)



Toyota: main features in new Toyota brand models launched in Japan from December 2015 to February 2017

"S" Standard on all grades, "A" Standard on some grades, and "O" Optional

Model Prius PHV C-HR Prius
Hatchback Compact SUV Hatchback
Launch month and year Feb. 2017 Dec. 2016 Dec. 2015
Driving performance
(including fuel efficiency)
S-VSC (coordinated control of EPS, VSC, ABS and TRC) S S S
Dynamic Torque Control AWD system A
HV4WD (E-Four) (1 in the Table below) A
Electronically Controlled Brake system (ECB) S A S
Sprung mass damping control system (2 in the Table below) S S S
Exhaust heat recovery system (3 in the Table below) S S
Grille shutters S S
Collision safety Side airbags for front seats, curtain shield airbags for front and rear seats S S S
Driving/parking assistance Blind spot monitor A A A
Rear cross traffic alert O
Drive-Start Control S S
Multi-view back guide monitor O O
Blind corner monitor O O
Rear camera O O
Intelligent Clearance Sonar (with alert for collisions with adjacent vehicles or obstacles) A A
Simple Intelligent Parking Assist A A
Driving mode selection (Sport or Power/Normal/Eco) S S S
Toyota Safety Sense P (Active safety package)(4 in the Table below) S S AO
Visibility Automatic High Beams S AO
Adaptive High Beams S
Bi-Beam LED headlamp (capable of switching high and low beam on a single LED) O S
Four-lamp LED headlamps S
Con Light (automatic headlamp) S S S
LED sequential turn lamps (5 in the Table below) O
Rain-sensing windshield wipers A A
Auto-dimming rear-view mirror A
Comfort/convenience Heated driver's and front passenger's seats A A A
Heated steering wheel S
Automatic air conditioner (S-FLOW: minimizing air flow around empty seats) S
Automatic air conditioner with two-zone independent temperature control S
Color head-up display A A
Solar charging system (6 in the Table below) O
Pocket PHV (smartphone application for PHV including remote air conditioning) O
Vehicle power connector (external electrical power supply outlet) AO
Accessory outlets (two outlets/with emergency power supply system) AO
ITS Connect (vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communication) O O
Wireless charger for smartphones and devices O O
Source: Toyota's press releases on new models, Toyota brand on-line catalogs of mid-February 2017



Toyota brand: major advanced features

(1)
HV4WD (E-Four)
HV4WD is an electrical AWD (E-Four) system for compact and fuel efficient vehicles. Toyota launched it in the fourth-generation Prius. Unlike a mechanical AWD system, the E-Four connects the front and rear wheels electrically and drives the rear wheels with motors. When driving on a rough road or cornering, the system automatically switches between FWD and AWD by distributing torque to the rear wheels. The torque split ratio can vary from 10/0 to 4/6 front-to-rear based on driving conditions at speeds of up to 70 km/h.
Compared to high output E-Four system for large hybrid vehicles, HV4WD is 75% lighter and smaller (Toyota's measurement). It adopted a magnet-less induction motor to reduce energy losses from the drag resistance caused by magnetic force.
The fourth-generation Prius equipped with HV4WD achieved a fuel economy of 34.0 km per liter based on Japan's JC08 mode test cycle, surpassing that of the third-generation FWD Prius (32.6 km per liter).
(2)
Sprung mass damping control system
This system suppresses the pitching of the vehicle and keeps the vehicle body level by controlling engine (motor) torque instantaneously in response to road conditions. It estimates the longitudinal forces on the ground-contact surface of the tires and the pitching speeds of the wheels from the rotation speed of the front wheels. If the rear body area of the vehicle descends, this system will increase engine (motor) torque slightly to prevent the body from descending.
(3)
Exhaust heat recovery system
This feature, which recovers exhaust heat from the engine to warm the coolant for the heater and engine, uses a new heat exchanger with fin structure. It shortens warm-up time and saves fuel thanks to its reduced size and higher recovery rate.
(4)
Toyota Safety Sense P
(Active safety package)
The active safety package uses a millimeter-wave radar that detects objects at a long range and a monocular camera that identifies their shape and size to assist the driver in avoiding collisions. It has the following four functions.
Pre-collision safety system (with pedestrian detection): Automatic braking for pedestrian collisions operates at speeds of 10-80km/h and reduces speed by roughly 30 km/h. Automatic braking for vehicle collisions is activated at speeds from 10 km/h to the top speed, and reduces speed by around 40 km/h.
Lane departure alert (with steering assist function): This feature is activated when the vehicle is driving in the lane that has a breadth of three-meters or wider at speeds of 50 km/h or faster. When it identifies the white and yellow lane markings on the road and determines that the vehicle is about to depart from the lane without turning on the winker, it alerts the driver with an audio and visual alert. In addition, it helps the driver steer back to the lane with a steering assist function.
Automatic high beams: This function is activated when the vehicle is driving at speeds of 30 km/h or faster. It automatically switches between high- and low-beams to assist the driver in quickly recognizing pedestrians and objects in the road at night.
Dynamic radar cruise control (with all-speed tracking function): This feature uses a millimeter-wave radar and monocular camera to identify a preceding car and helps maintain a pre-set distance behind it by adjusting speed. When the preceding car stops, the system brings the vehicle to a full stop. When the car ahead starts moving, the driver operates their vehicle to start moving again.
(5)
LED sequential turn lamp
This feature was installed in the C-HR, a first for a Toyota brand vehicle. It consists of a string of lamps that illuminate sequentially from the innermost to the outmost lamp. As a result, it gives an innovative impression along with improving visibility to ensure safety.
(6)
Solar charging system
The new Prius PHV has a large solar panel on its roof. The model is the world's first mass-produced car (as of February 2017, according to Toyota) with this capability. Its driving battery is used to store solar electricity during parking. When the vehicle is running, solar electricity is used to support the auxiliary battery.


Lexus LX, RX and GS F feature Lexus Safety System + as standard equipment

  Toyota has adopted advanced features for the Lexus LX, its flagship SUV under the Lexus brand. Features for improving driving performance include Active Traction Control, Active Height Control Suspension, and Adaptive Variable Suspension. For advanced driving assistance, vehicles are equipped with features like Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Monitor.

  The automaker has also begun installing Lexus Safety System +, an active safety package for the Lexus vehicles, starting with the LX in Japan. The RX premium crossover SUV and the GS F high-performance sport sedan are also equipped with this package as standard equipment. Like Toyota Safety Sense P, the Lexus package uses a millimeter-wave radar and monocular camera to offer a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection and dynamic radar cruise control. In addition, it includes the Adaptive High-Beam system.

Lexus LX features Lexus
Safety System + as standard equipment
Lexus LX features Lexus Safety System + as standard equipment
(Photo: Toyota)



Toyota: main features on new Lexus brand models launched in Japan from September to November 2015

"S" Standard on all grades, "A" Standard on some grades, and "O" Optional

Model GS F RX LX
Sedan SUV Flagship SUV
Launch month and year Nov. 2015 Oct. 2015 Sep. 2015
Driving performance
(including fuel efficiency)
VDIM (coordinated control of ABS, BA, TRC, and VSC) S AO
Multi-Terrain ABS/brake assist/VSC S
S-VSC A
Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) S
Active Traction Control (1 in the Table below) S
NAVI・AI-AVS (Navigation/Artificial Intelligence/Adaptive Variable Suspension system) S A
Electric active stabilizer A
Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) S
Four-wheel AHC (with easy access mode) & AVS (2 in the Table below) S
Electronically Controlled Brake system (ECB) A
Collision safety Side airbags for front seats, curtain shield airbags for front and rear seats S S S
Knee airbags for driver's and front passenger's seats S S
Knee airbag for driver's seat S
Front passenger seat cushion airbag S
Side airbags for second row outer seats S S S
Driving/parking assistance Blind spot monitor O AO S
Rear cross traffic alert AO S
Rear cross traffic auto braking AO
Brake hold S
Drive start control S S
Intelligent Clearance Sonar AO
Multi-Terrain Select S
Crawl Control (with turn assist function) (3 in the Table below) S
Multi-Terrain Monitor (4 in the Table below) S
Panoramic View Monitor AO S
Driving mode selection switch S S
Back guide monitor S A
Side monitor A
Lexus Safety System + (active safety package) (5 in the Table below) S S S
Visibility Adaptive High Beam system S O S
Automatic High Beam system S
3-lamp LED headlamps S AO S
LED headlamps A
Con Light (automatic headlamp) S
LED sequential turn signal lamp AO S
Rain-sensing windshield wipers S S
Auto-dimming rear-view mirror S S S
Auto folding, auto-dimming door mirrors S AO S
Comfort/convenience Lexus Climate Concierge (automatic air conditioner with four-zone independent temperature control) (6 in the Table below) O S
Automatic air conditioner with three-zone independent temperature control S
Automatic air conditioner with two-zone independent temperature control S
Heated and ventilated front seats and second row outer seats S
Comfortable Air Seat for driver's and front passenger's seats (with quick heating and cooling function) AO
Heated driver's and front passenger's seats S AO
Ventilated driver's and front passenger's seats O AO
Heated rear seats AO
Heated steering wheel S AO S
Remote Touch (interface touchpad) S S S
Color head-up display O AO S
Touch-Free Power Open/Close Rear Door (7 in the Table below) S
Active Sound Control (8 in the Table below) S
SD Navigation system (Vehicle Information and Communication System (VICS) WIDE-compatible) S S S
ITS Connect (vehicle-to-infrastructure/vehicle-to-vehicle communication) O
Wireless charger for smartphones and devices O O
Source: Toyota's press releases on new models, Lexus brand on-line catalogs of mid-February 2017



Lexus brand: major advanced features

(1)
Active Traction Control
When this system detects the onset of wheel slippage on snowy roads and challenging terrain, it automatically applies the brake to wheels that are sliding and distributes more power to other wheels to enable stable driving. If the crawl control (refer to 3 below) is activated, the system optimizes its control in response to the vehicle speed set by it.
(2)
Four-wheel AHC (with easy access mode) & AVS
Four-Wheel Active Height Control (AHC) suspension system: This feature automatically controls the height of the suspension in accordance with the selected driving mode. It offers three modes with different chassis heights. When running at high speeds, the suspension will be lowered to increase driving stability. If the transfer case is shifted into low range in all-wheel drive, the suspension will be raised. When "easy access mode" is selected, the suspension will be lowered when the engine stops.
Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system: This feature automatically controls damping force according to driving conditions. When the system detects heaving, rolling and pitching of the vehicle due to road surface conditions, it adjusts the shock absorber damping force for each wheel. This makes the vehicle movement natural and smooth and suppresses vibrations to provide superior ride comfort.
(3)
Crawl Control (with turn assist function)
This feature automatically maintains an optimal slow and steady pace over challenging terrain. Only steering is required and no pedal inputs are needed. Since it suppresses wheel spinning and locking, the driver is able to get out of situations where the vehicle is stuck and load on the powertrain is reduced. Crawling speed can be selected from five levels according to conditions.
(4)
Multi-Terrain Monitor
This system assists the driver in checking surrounding conditions with four cameras. The driver can switch between images from cameras positioned on the front, right and left sides, and rear of the vehicle. Switching the front view to the underfloor view allows the terrain and tire location beneath the vehicle to be checked.
(5)
Lexus Safety System + (Active safety package)
This active safety package, which uses a millimeter-wave radar and monocular camera, was used for the first time in Japan on the Lexus LX. It includes the following four functions.
Pre-collision safety system (with pedestrian detection): This system uses a millimeter radar and monocular camera to detect vehicles and pedestrians ahead of the vehicle. Among the functions of the system, the automatic braking for vehicle collisions operates at speeds from 10 km/h to the vehicle's top speed and reduces speed by 40 km/h, and that for pedestrian collisions is activated at speeds of 10-80km/h and reduces speed by 30 km/h.
Lane departure alert (with steering vibration function): This feature is activated when the vehicle is driving in a lane three-meters wider at speeds of 50 km/h or faster. When it identifies the white and yellow lane markings on the road and determines that the vehicle is about to depart from the lane without turning on the winker, it alerts the driver with an audio and visual alert as well as steering wheel vibration. In addition, when it detects unsteady driving, it will urge the driver to take a break with an audio and visual alert.
Adaptive High-Beam system: This system detects the lamps of preceding and oncoming vehicles and the brightness of the surrounding area with a light detection camera fitted on the windshield. When other vehicles are detected in the range of the high beams, the related LED lamps are turned off so as not to dazzle the drivers of the preceding and oncoming vehicles. (Some models install the Automatic High-Beam system instead of the Adaptive High-Beam system.)
Dynamic radar cruise control (with all-speed tracking function): This feature uses a millimeter-wave radar and monocular camera to identify a preceding car and helps maintain a pre-set distance behind it by adjusting speed. When the preceding car stops, the system brings the vehicle to a full stop. When the car ahead starts moving, the driver operates their vehicle to start moving again.
(6)
Lexus Climate Concierge
The Lexus LX is the first vehicle ever to have this equipment installed. The system coordinates the automatic air conditioner, heated steering wheel, and heated/ventilated seats for the driver, as well as the front and rear passenger seats. It also activates and deactivates each function automatically by detecting the presence of passengers on the front passenger seat and second row seats.
(7)
Touch-Free Power Open/Close Rear Door
This system opens the rear door automatically when a person carrying the vehicle's key holds his/her hand near the Lexus emblem on it. The door is closed by pressing the switch on the lower part of it once. If the same switch is pressed twice in succession, all the doors of the vehicle will be locked.
(8)
Active Sound Control
This feature recognizes the sound of the vehicle as information for ascertaining its condition and improves the sense of unity with it. The system harmonizes the "original sound" from the engine and exhaust systems and "assisting sound" that has been synthesized. Two speakers are installed at the front and rear of the cabin in the Lexus GS F. The front speaker delivers engine sound and the rear speaker exhaust sound.


Nissan: Serena minivan adopts "ProPILOT" single-lane autonomous driving technology

  Nissan has adopted "ProPILOT" single-lane autonomous driving technology designed for highway use in the Serena minivan. This feature enables automatic operation of the accelerator, brakes and steering in heavy traffic and during long periods of cruising. The Serena also comes with Intelligent Parking Assist, which automatically steers the vehicle into the parking space, and hands-free automatic sliding doors that allow the user to open the sliding doors without using their hands.

  The Note e-Power series hybrid and the Serena are equipped with a number of driving assistance features including a smart rearview mirror that can display video from the rear camera on the LCD monitor, automatic emergency brakes for vehicle and pedestrian collisions, and an around view monitor.

Nissan Note e-Power series
hybrid
Nissan Note e-Power series hybrid (Photo: Nissan)



Nissan: main features on new models launched in Japan from August to November 2016

"S" Standard on all grades, "A" Standard on some grades, and "O" Optional

Model Note e-Power Serena
Small hatchback Minivan
Launch month and year Nov. 2016 Aug. 2016
Driving performance Vehicle-speed-sensitive electric power steering S S
S-Hybrid (Smart Simple Hybrid) A
Collision safety SRS side airbag systems for front seats O
SRS curtain airbag systems O O
Driving/parking assistance Around View Monitor (Moving Object Detection) O O
Emergency Brake (for vehicle and pedestrian collisions) A S
Lane Departure Warning (LDW) A S
Emergency assist for pedal misapplication O O
Intelligent Parking Assist O
Smart rearview mirror (1 in the Table below) O O
Automatic brake hold O
Do-not-enter Sign Detection system O
Driver Attention Alert O
Lane Departure Prevention system (LDP) O
ProPILOT (2 in the Table below) O
Visibility LED headlamps AO AO
Automatic headlight system A S
Rain-sensing wipers S
Comfort/convenience Automatic dual air conditioning AO
Quick Comfort heated front seats O
Hands-free automatic sliding doors (front passenger's side/both sides) (3 in the Table below) O
Dual rear doors (4 in the Table below) O
Front passenger's swivel seat O
Source: Nissan's press releases on new models, Nissan on-line catalogs of mid-February 2017



Nissan: major advanced features

(1)
Smart rearview mirror
This feature allows the driver to toggle the LCD monitor video from a camera facing rearward. This enables a clear view unaffected by weather and unobstructed by the passengers in the second- and third-row seats, headrests, large luggage in the cargo space, and any other in-vehicle visual impediments.
(2)
ProPILOT
This is autonomous driving equipment designed for highway use in single-lane traffic. It enables automatic operations of the accelerator, brakes, and steering in heavy traffic and during long cruising. It equates to Level 2 autonomy under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)'s system. The driver is obliged to take control in emergency and always required to keep their hand on the steering wheel.
The system uses a high-performance mono camera fitted to the windshield to recognize lane markers, preceding cars, and pedestrians. Nissan is the first automaker to commercialize a system that corresponds to Level 2 autonomy using only cameras. The system uses a mono camera supplied by ZF-TRW and image processing technology from Mobileye.
Once activated, ProPILOT automatically controls the distance between the vehicle and the preceding car with a speed preset by the driver (between approximately 30 km/h and 100 km/h). The system also keeps the vehicle in the middle of the highway lane by controlling steering. When the preceding car stops, the system brings the vehicle to a full stop accordingly. When the preceding car starts moving, the system resumes following it if the driver touches the switch or lightly presses the accelerator. With no car in front, the vehicle will follow the lane markers at the set speed.
(3)
Hands-free automatic sliding doors (front passenger's side/both sides)
This system allows the user to open or close the automatic sliding door with an intelligent key in their pocket or bag by sliding their foot under the door and drawing it back. Since there is no need to take out a key or touch a door handle, it is easy to open the vehicle for users with children or parcels in their arms.
(4)
Dual rear doors
The new Serena is equipped with a half rear door (a rear glass hatch) in its liftgate so that the user can open it in a tight space. The half rear door can be opened by pressing a switch in the Nissan emblem on the liftgate and closed by pulling a strap or one of two handles.



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Key words:
Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Serena, expanding, ADAS

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