Toyota is aiming to bring to market cars with a high degree of autonomous control by 2020, a timescale that chimes with other OEMs’ plans.

A Reuters report said that Toyota is planning cars that can autonomously change lanes, merge with traffic, and overtake other vehicles on highways by “around 2020”.

Toyota said at a demonstration in Japan that in the car of the future, drivers would be able to turn on and off the auto-pilot mode with a single switch.

Toyota also said that by the end of 2015, it will make a new ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) safety package available on three models in Japan. The package, named ITS Connect, uses Japan’s standardised ITS frequency of 760 MHz to receive and share data transmitted by external infrastructure and other vehicles.

The company claims that by equipping ITS Connect on these three models it will make Toyota the world’s first automaker to bring a driver assist function that uses a dedicated ITS frequency to market.

ITS Connect uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication to provide drivers with the kind of safety information that cannot be picked up by onboard sensors. This includes traffic signal information and information about the presence of vehicles and pedestrians in blind spots.

By steadily expanding the range  of vehicles equipped with ITS Connect, Toyota hopes to help reduce the number of accidents that occur near intersections. In Japan, this kind of accident accounts for roughly 40 percent of all traffic accidents, Toyota says.