Since the launch of the first generation in Japan in 1997, Prius has maintained its status as Toyota’s technology ambassador, an eco-car that regularly brings valuable next-generation technologies and innovations to the marketplace.
The fourth-generation Prius provides an impressive and integrated platform upon which Toyota is taking safety and driver assistance technologies to a higher level. Six of these advances come within the full suite of Toyota Safety Sense features fitted as standard to all new Prius models, while others seek to improve driver comfort and the overall ownership experience.
Prius: Toyota Safety Sense – Pre-Collision Safety System
Working within a broad speed range that extends from 6mph to 112mph, the Pre-Collision Safety System and related Pre-Collision Safety System with Pedestrian Protection uses a front-mounted monocular camera sensor and millimetre-wave radar sensor to detect vehicles and pedestrians on the road ahead.
If the system calculates that a collision is imminent, it automatically warns the driver with a buzzer and alert in the multi-information display. At the same time, a Pre-Collision Brake Assist programme engages to provide extra braking force the moment the brake pedal is pressed. If the system determines that the possibility of a frontal collision is now extremely high, the brakes are automatically applied to help avoid the collision or help reduce the impact force.
Prius: Toyota Safety Sense – Adaptive Cruise Control
The Adaptive Cruise Control system in the new Prius comes with a Full Speed Range Following Function, which makes additional use of the millimetre-wave radar at the front of the car to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
If changes in that distance are detected, the system can either slow the car slightly, apply the brakes to come to a complete standstill, or accelerate smoothly back to the pre-selected cruising speed once the way is clear.
Prius: Toyota Safety Sense – Lane Departure Alert
Lane Departure Alert makes additional use of the monocular camera in the windscreen to track the vehicle’s course between lane markings painted on the road surface.
If it judges that the car is about to move out of its lane without the indicator being used, the system sounds a buzzer and illuminates a warning on the multi-information display. If the vehicle is still moving outside the line, it will apply steering force to help the driver bring the vehicle back on course.
Prius: Toyota Safety Sense – Automatic High Beam
Automatic High Beam makes additional use of the monocular camera in the windscreen to recognise the lights of approaching vehicles or traffic ahead. When these come within reach of the headlights’ high beam, the system automatically switches to low beam to avoid dazzling other road users.
As soon as the road is clear, the system then returns the headlights to high beam to maximise night-time illumination and the driver’s field of vision.
Prius: Toyota Safety Sense – Road Sign Assist
Road Sign Assist is the third and final system to make use of the monocular camera in the windscreen – in this instance to recognise principal road warning and command signs.
These signs are then replicated on the multi-information display, reducing the risk of the driver not being aware of speed limits, lane closures and other important information.
Prius: advanced safety and driver assistance systems
The 2016 Prius is available with additional system that support safer driving by offering real-time information about the area immediately around the car, including a Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
The Blind Spot Monitor uses radar sensors mounted on the rear corners to detect nearby vehicles in adjacent lanes as they move into the driver’s blind spot. The driver is alerted to their presence by LED warning indicators in the door mirror on the appropriate side of the car. The LED indicators remain illuminated – or will flash rapidly if the turn indicators are activated – as long as the vehicle remains in the blind spot.
The same radars are used to provide the Rear Cross Traffic Alert function, monitoring approaching traffic from either side as the vehicle reverses out of a parking space and warning the driver if any vehicles are detected.
In addition, a new, intelligent parking sensor system helps avoid the kind of low-speed impacts that can happen during parking manoeuvres, regardless of accelerator or brake operation. It will also mitigate damage if contact does occur.
Prius: Simple Intelligent Parking Assist
The 2016 Prius showcases Toyota’s new Simple Intelligent Parking Assist system, which uses an array of on-board sensors to identify viable parking spaces and surrounding objects.
The driver stops the car next to the parking space and pushes a single button to engage the system, which guides the car to the correct position for reverse manoeuvring into the space. Improvements to the technology allow it to work in parking spaces up to 22 per cent smaller than previously.
Prius: multi-Information display
Toyota has improved the look and performance of the multi-information display in the central instrument binnacle. Data and images are now presented in full colour with high-resolution graphics on a dual, 4.2-inch display.
The right-hand section presents speed, fuel level and other basic data, while the left section is where the driver can select preferred content using a switch on the steering wheel. The efficiency of the driver’s driving style and the car’s progressive fuel economy can be monitored and separated into different periods of time or distance.
Prius: colour head-up display
For the first time in a Toyota vehicle, Prius is now available with a colour head-up display. This projects essential vehicle data and alerts on to the lower section of the windscreen, making information instantly and easily readable without the driver having to take their eyes off the road ahead.
Content includes vehicle speed, the state of battery charge, hybrid system status, Adaptive Cruise Control with Full Speed Range Following Function setting and Lane Departure Alert.
Prius: intelligent S-Flow automatic air conditioning
The automatic air conditioning system in the 2016 Prius is smaller, lighter and uses less power, benefiting from a new S-Flow function to improve efficiency. It registers whether the seats are occupied and adjusts ventilation and heating performance accordingly, minimising airflow around any empty seats. It also monitors the air conditioning temperature settings, external temperature and amount of sunlight, to calculate the most efficient operating parameters.
Other advances in the system include a new evaporator that uses less energy and a new electric compressor that is quieter and delivers better cooling performance.
As well as making the cabin environment more comfortable, the system’s multiple new features also improve fuel efficiency. The driver can monitor how efficiently the air conditioning is being used with a new Eco-judge function that calculates a performance score every second. Performance can be reviewed on the multi-information display; after the engine is turned off, an average score is calculated, with tips of how the air conditioning can be better operated.
Prius: wireless phone charger
The new Prius is available with a wireless phone charger, located in the lower section of the centre console. Using Qi technology, this allows compatible smartphones to be recharged without having to manually connect a cable.