(from Toyota Press
Release) Toyota Reveals NS4 Advanced Plug-In Hybrid Concept
'Vision of the Future' Concept
Vehicle Features Advanced Powertrain, Human-Machine Interface and
Toyota Motor Sales,
U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), today revealed the NS4 advanced plug-in hybrid
concept vehicle at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)
in Detroit. The NS4 signifies Toyota’s vision for future mobility
with a focus on connectivity and the human interface.
Toyota engineers were challenged to design a new mid-sized concept
for potential global market introduction by 2015. The NS4 concept is
a dedicated plug-in hybrid, separate from the Prius family, designed
with future mobility requirements in mind.
“In this digital age, cars are becoming another spoke in the wheel
of our electronic connectivity,” said Jim Lentz, TMS president and
chief operating officer. “NS4 demonstrates Toyota’s take on the
human connection to the car with technology that considers both
emotional and rational relationships, person-to-car and
NS4’s advanced powertrain targets a next-generation Hybrid Synergy
Drive plug-in system featuring reductions in component size and
weight with improved overall fuel economy, better acceleration and
longer all-electric range, while maintaining a short charge time.
Sleek, Futuristic Styling
The NS4 concept signals
a new styling direction for the Toyota brand aimed at creating an
emotional connection with consumers. NS4 styling lines reflect a new
take on the aerodynamics of the modified triangle, with a low height
and cabin-forward tilt. The distinctive open trapezoid grille is
accented by a floating lower spoiler and wing-like daytime running
lights wrapping around to a sculpted fender. Rear lamps wrap around
the sides of the vehicle to quarter sections layered into blistered
fenders, while the rear lamp wings create a sharp edge and the
effect of a rear spoiler.
The A-pillars are ultra thin for improved driver visibility while
crush integrity. The roof line profile, lift back design and powered
swan-wing doors create greater accessibility and efficient
development cycles average four years, but this is rapidly changing
in the digital age. Vehicles have become another communication hub
in the connected-consumers lifestyle and automakers must integrate
the latest technologies into their product offerings. In fact,
connected vehicles are the third-fastest growing technological
device, behind smartphones and tablets.
Toyota has formed special alliances with technology leaders such as
Microsoft, Intel and Salesforce to explore the creation of seamless
vehicle interfaces with emerging technologies. These alliances will
help ensure Toyota is at the forefront of this emerging sector of
the automotive market.
The NS4 concept’s Human-Machine Interface (HMI) provides a user
interface built around a multi-touch screen with the look and feel
of a smartphone. The simple, intuitive operation conveys information
quickly while minimizing distractions and maximizing driver
awareness. The multimedia and vehicle-controls enhancement also will
direct air conditioning, audio, battery-charge and navigation
functions. The HMI system is even capable of “learning” driver
preferences and habits to anticipate driver responses in specific
environments and situations. This concept represents a truly
connected vehicle, offering the latest technology in a responsible
and convenient package.
State-of-the-Art Safety Features
The NS4 introduces a
next generation Pre-Collision System (PCS) with lane departure,
rear-end and pedestrian collision avoidance technologies designed to
predict collisions under certain circumstances and help avoid them.
This PCS uses millimeter-wave radar and stereo cameras mounted on
the front of the vehicle to detect and react to lane departure,
pedestrians and other vehicles. In addition, the system emits
near-infrared beams to enhance PCS recognition at night. This driver
assistance feature helps to avoid collisions with other vehicles,
road-side obstructions, and pedestrians by applying the brakes and
The current generation PCS, available in certain Lexus and Toyota
vehicles, is designed to identify certain objects directly in the
road ahead. If PCS determines that a collision is imminent, the
brake assist system is placed in standby mode, a warning is
displayed and a buzzer sounds. If PCS determines that a collision is
unavoidable, the system still will alert the driver via a warning
light, warning display and buzzer, apply the brakes and
automatically retract the driver and front passenger seatbelts.
Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB) headlights help prevent vision-impairing
glare to oncoming drivers and pedestrians. Using a camera mounted
behind the front grille and partial shielding inside the headlights,
this feature allows drivers to maintain near-high beam illumination
to improve nighttime visibility.
The pop-up hood structure automatically raises the rear of the hood
to increase the space underneath, helping to reduce pedestrian head
injuries caused by a collision with the front of the vehicle, within
certain speed ranges. This innovation is the result of testing and
verification using both conventional crash-test dummies and Toyota’s
Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) virtual model.
Using sub-millimeter wave radar, the Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) is
designed to detect a vehicle in the adjacent lane and visually
alerts the driver using visual indicators placed in the upper dash.
Four new glass technologies are integrated into the windshield and
front triangle, door, and rear windows to improve driver visibility,
gas mileage and electric driving mode mileage efficiency:
coating – Fluorine coated glass causes rain drops to form into
semispherical shapes for improved visibility and rain drop
elimination (also used on the roof solar panel)
• Anti-fog film – High performance resin material with
anti-fogging characteristics and increased durability
• High ultraviolet (UV) absorbing inner-layer – Removes 99
percent of harmful UVA and UVB rays
• Anti-solar film with radio-wave transparency – Reduces the
internal vehicle temperature and improves electronic device
Inner and outer rear
view mirrors have been replaced with cameras that provide the driver
with a panoramic rearward view. The rearward image is displayed on a
dedicated dashboard mounted screen above the navigation screen and
provides a wider view than conventional rear view mirrors. The
rearward panoramic camera view working in combination with the Blind
Spot Monitoring (BSM) system enhances driving visibility.
“The continued success of our conventional hybrid vehicles has laid
strong groundwork for market acceptance of future advanced
technologies,” said Lentz. “NS4 demonstrates Toyota’s ongoing
commitment to enhancing the safety, efficiency, and convenience of
future mobility for people everywhere."