Toyota (G.B.) is adding Electronic Traffic Avoidance (ETA) to the standard satellite navigation system fitted to all Avensis models bar the base version from January. ETA will also be an option on the 2002 Corolla due for launch early next year.

ETA provides the driver with live traffic information and enables the sat-nav to plot a way around the hold-ups drivers frequently experience in the UK, which was this week officially confirmed as Europe’s most traffic-congested country.

ETA receives coded traffic information 24 hours per day via an FM radio signal that is still picked up when the audio system is switched off.  ETA decodes messages from various nationwide traffic monitoring services to give advanced warning of incidents and congestion. 

If the driver is following a route using the car’s satellite navigation system, ETA will automatically offer an ‘avoid traffic’ option and work out a new route. If the driver is not using the satellite navigation when the traffic warning is received, plotting a destination into the navigation system will trigger the ‘avoid traffic’ function and activate re-routing around the problem before the driver encounters the jam.

Toyota says that its research shows that UK company car drivers spend an average of 10 working days per year stuck in traffic jams. The ETA-fitted cars will be distinguished from earlier sat-nav-equipped Avensis models by a small aerial box located inside the car above the rear view mirror.