"One of our key messages is, of course, not only for end consumers — people who actually use our product every day — but to other automakers and other leaders in the transportation industry," Andrew Coetzee, vice president for planning and strategy at Toyota, told Automotive News.
"We'd like to encourage others to join with us and utilize DSRC technologies to realize the full safety and traffic-flow benefits of the technology," he said.
Only one commercially available production vehicle in the U.S., the Cadillac CTS, has vehicle-to-vehicle communications capability.
DSRC technology, which Toyota has been testing in Japan since 2015, allows vehicles to anonymously communicate location, speed and acceleration with one another and with traffic infrastructure, such as signal lights. Specially equipped cars could then alert a driver to a car that's about to run a red light, for example, or warn of slowed traffic or hazards ahead, including those beyond the range of on-board cameras and sensors.
Automakers are generally supportive of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications — the combined category is known as V2X — as a complement to other connected and automated-driving systems that improve traffic safety. But they've been slowed by an industry debate over the best technology.
DSRC is one option, but some automakers are holding out for cellular technology that may provide greater benefits over a wider geographic area and are fearful of committing to a system that might soon become outdated.
With the mandate stalled, Toyota says the auto industry should move forward with the technology on a voluntary basis, as it did with automatic emergency braking under an agreement with federal regulators. That agreement calls for automakers to make automatic braking standard on almost all U.S. market vehicles by September 2022.
Coetzee said DSRC has been proved over a decade of testing, is ready to deploy and doesn't require a subscription.
"Yes, we do make a technology statement here with DSRC that we are going to deploy this technology specifically," he said. "Other technologies are not yet ready or not yet proven, especially in the safety environment."
Toyota and Lexus have sold about 100,000 DSRC-equipped vehicles in Japan.
A traffic study presented last year by the Universal Traffic Management Society of Japan found a 38 percent reduction in near-miss incidents at intersections when infrastructure and vehicles were equipped with communications systems vs. those that weren't.