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Toyota trials lane congestion data to smartphone

By Simon Warburton | 27 October 2017

Toyota is planning to trial a service providing lane-specific traffic-congestion information to its TC Smartphone Navigation smartphone app following testing with the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations.

The information will be generated by analysing driving video and vehicle data collected from Toyota's data-transmission TransLog driving recorder installed on 500 taxis operating in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The trial service is to start in the spring of 2018.

Toyota has been providing services such as airbag-deployment emergency notification, automatic navigational map-data updating and operator services using its data communications module (DCM) commercialised in 2002.

The manufacturer started to make DCMs standard on Lexus-brand vehicles and optional on Toyota-brand vehicles in 2005. Using driving data collected from DCMs, Toyota also has been providing its T-Probe big-data traffic information service since 2011, which is currently available through original-equipment navigation systems and through Toyota's TC Smartphone Navigation smartphone app.

The lane-specific traffic-congestion information Toyota plans to provide, complementing Toyota's DCM-enabled services, is generated by AI-facilitated analysis of driving image data collected from TransLog units.

Whereas conventional traffic-congestion information only informed drivers of traffic conditions for segments of roadway, Toyota maintains its new system better supports drivers by providing data on traffic conditions by lane, with such information confirmable through on-screen photographs.

The lane-specific traffic-congestion information trial service is to only cover traffic conditions in the Tokyo metropolitan area and be accessible only via TC Smartphone Navigation.

However, based on user rates and various technical evaluations, Toyota plans to consider expanding the areas covered and the types of devices through which the service can be accessed.

Also, from driving video data acquired through taxis, Toyota expects to be able to obtain information on road construction and traffic accidents, roadway obstacles, as well as on parking-space vacancies and the degree of congestion around various retail outlets directly facing streets and other roadways.

Toyota plans to advance its development of new traffic information services based on real-time extraction of key elements from the information.