Toyota's NS4 advanced plug-in hybrid concept that was unveiled this week at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit is the brainchild of Toyota engineers who were given the task of designing a new mid-size concept for potential launch in markets worldwide by 2015. While the NS4 concept is a dedicated plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), Toyota says it isn't part of its Prius family, with a next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive plug-in system that is not only smaller and lighter, but is also more fuel efficient, boasts better acceleration and a longer all-electric range than the current system.
For those times when a pedestrian collision can't be avoided, the car features a pop-up hood structure that automatically raises the rear of the hood within certain speed ranges to increase the space underneath and reduce the chance of the pedestrian sustaining head injuries. Toyota says it has tested this system using both conventional crash-test dummies and virtual models.
With interior and exterior rear view cameras replacing mirrors, a dedicated dashboard-mounted screen positioned above the navigation display is used to display a panoramic rear view image that is wider than that possible with conventional rear view mirrors. The rear view panoramic camera view also works in conjunction with a sub-millimeter wave radar in the Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) system to detect a vehicle in an adjacent lane.
Meanwhile, Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB) headlights use a camera mounted behind the front grille and partial shielding inside the headlights to allow drivers to maintain near-high beam illumination without producing vision-impairing glare to oncoming drivers.
While Toyota's Plug-In Hybrid of 2015 will undoubtedly look different than the concept currently on display in Detroit, it's likely that some, if not most, of the connectivity and safety features found on the NS4 concept will appear in such a car by that time.
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