Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell electric bus, Sora, has been upgraded with a series of safety features designed to help prevent accidents.

The new systems make use of the vehicle’s ITS (Intelligent Transport System) functions, communicating with other vehicles and roadside infrastructure.

Sora went into production last summer and more than 100 are expected to be on the road, mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area, in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Powered by the Toyota Fuel Cell System, such as that featured in the Mirai saloon, Toyota says the Sora produces no harmful emissions when driven.

As a public service vehicle, Sora requires a high operation rate and high safety performance. To support this, the bus has been equipped with a function which warns the driver when making right turns at junctions and a system passengers can use to trigger an emergency stop in urgent situations, for example if the driver is suddenly taken ill.

An intelligent system shares information on the distance between vehicles to prevent two or more buses travelling in convoy from being separated at traffic lights or bus stops. This will help improve the transportation system’s capacity and the speed and punctuality of the buses.