Toyota has come up with a new version of its Driver Awareness Research Vehicle (DARV), previewing the Avalon-based technology showcase vehicle at last month’s Aspen Ideas Festival in the US.
The DARV 1.5, as it’s called, follows in the footsteps of the Sienna MPV-based DAR-V that debuted in Los Angeles last year, continuing on the same theme of being a working platform for studying the dynamics of driver distraction.
The study aims to find out how best to keep a driver focused on the road without sacrificing any of the benefits offered by the ever-growing flood of sophisticated on-board information systems making their way onto cars.
The initiative seeks to streamline the amount of information to the driver, presenting the fringe info before driving begins and keeping it to that about the road ahead and traffic conditions during driving.
New features on the 1.5, which is equipped with Microsoft’s Surface tablet and Kinect motion-sensing technologies and custom-designed Infosys biometric software, include a driver “lock-in” function.
This identifies who is at the wheel through body frame tracking, and the system then automatically enables or disables certain control features according to the profile. Elsewhere, the vehicle explores how wearable devices such as smart watches might be used to control vehicle functions.