Toyota's Rav4 gets cheap automatic braking

New smart car tech already saving lives
New smart car tech already saving lives

Toyota is bringing automatic braking to the masses.

The company is cutting the price of automatic braking and other crash-avoidance options, a move that could greatly increase the availability of the safety features.

Toyota is offering it on the Rav4, one of its top selling models. It expects to have the package available on all models in the next few years.

At the New York auto show this week, Toyota (TM) is announcing that a package of those three safety features will be available for between $300 to $500. It will also be available for $500 on Lexus luxury vehicles.

Such features have generally been available at a much higher price on luxury or upper end models.

Automatic breaking uses cameras and laser radar to slow or stop a car if there is a stopped vehicle or some other obstacle ahead of it. The other features in the safety package include alerts to drivers that they've changed lanes, as well as a feature that automatically switches between high and low beam headlights at night based on the traffic around it.

"We believe that the ultimate desire of a society that values mobility should be the eventual elimination of traffic fatalities and injuries," said Bob Carter, a senior vice president at Toyota USA.

Related: The best and worst crash avoidance technology

The lower-cost safety features will initially be available on the Rav4 compact SUV, Toyota's third best-selling model behind the Camry and Corolla, as well as on the Toyota Avalon sedan and the Lexus RX crossover.

Three additional Toyota models and four Lexus models yet to be announced will get feature later this year. Toyota expects it to be available on nearly all models and trim levels by the end of 2017.

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