What is Toyota Safety Sense?

Toyota’s collection of driver-assistance tech covers everything from cruise control to collision warnings.

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Toyota Safety Sense, or TSS, is a comprehensive suite of safety systems and driver aids available on nearly every vehicle the automaker offers. The system was introduced in 2015 and uses hardware in the form of radar sensors and cameras in addition to software. Most Toyota models include some form of TSS, although it is limited in the automaker’s sportier, rear-wheel drive models.

There are three different versions of TSS: Toyota Safety Sense P (the most basic package), Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (the upgraded package) and Toyota Safety Sense 2.5/2.5+ (the next-generation system).

What is Toyota Safety Sense P?

Available on the TacomaSequoia, and 4Runner, the TSS-P includes four features that are shared among all the other systems:

The pre-collision system detects vehicles—and even pedestrians under the right daylight conditions—then alerts the driver through audible and visual cues about a potential frontal collision. If the driver doesn’t react, the system applies the brakes, reducing the impact or avoiding the collision. These features are known generically as forward collision warning and automated emergency braking in the auto industry.

The lane-departure alert works on straight roads with visible lane markings—the system senses if the car strays from its lane and alerts the driver with an audio and visual alert. Some versions of TSS-P also include steering assistance, which makes small inputs to prevent the vehicle from straying out of its lane.

Dynamic radar cruise control, also known as adaptive cruise control, can accelerate or decelerate the vehicle to maintain a set distance between it and the vehicle ahead. Ideal for highways, the system will alert the driver with a visual and audible cue in situations where intervention is needed. Some TSS-P vehicles also include full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, which brings the vehicle to a complete stop and can resume forward motion from a standstill.

Automatic high beams help illuminate the road in dark conditions by turning on the high beams without driver input. The system can switch off the beams when it senses oncoming headlights, thus keeping other drivers from being blinded.

What is Toyota Safety Sense 2.0?

The Prius, Corolla (including Hatchback and Hybrid variants), Venza, RAV4 (including Hybrid and Prime versions), Corolla Cross, and Sienna all use TSS 2.0, which improves upon TSS-P and adds new features.

The pre-collision system in TSS 2.0 is expanded to detect both vehicles and pedestrians even in low-light conditions, and also can sense bicycles in daylight.

The lane-departure alert includes road-edge detection, so it can work in situations without visible lane marking, using the edge of the road surface instead.

Lane-tracing assist, an added feature, keeps the vehicle centered in its lane by making small steering inputs.

Dynamic radar cruise control and full-speed dynamic radar cruise control have a lower minimum initialization speed of 19 mph, compared with 28 mph in TSS-P vehicles.

What is Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 and Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+?

The Camry, Avalon, Mirai, C-HR, Highlander, and Tundra use TSS 2.5 and TSS 2.5+, adding the following improvements:

The pre-collision system can detect oncoming vehicles and pedestrians during left-hand turns at an intersection or pedestrians at a right-hand turn. TSS 2.5 also has an emergency steering function to avoid pedestrians, while TSS 2.5+ can avoid vehicles.

Lane-departure alert with steering assist provides steering wheel vibrations to alert the driver if the vehicle has drifted from its lane.

Dynamic radar cruise control can automatically enable lane-departure alert with steering assist and lane-tracing assist. TSS 2.5+ gets curve-speed management, which reduces vehicle speed on curves and returns to the set speed when exiting the turn.

Road-sign assist can recognize speed limit, stop, yield, and do not enter signs, and informs the driver of them. The system can also alert the driver if a stop sign or speed limit is ignored.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave ten 2021 and 2022 Toyota vehicles the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus awards, in part because of the features included with Toyota Safety Sense TSS.

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Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad is an award-winning automotive journalist who has contributed to several automotive, electric vehicle, luxury lifestyle, and technology publications. His work isn't just limited to the written word, as he's also hosted YouTube videos and podcasts. Having grown up in the '90s, he has a strong sense of attachment to that era's style, though he also loves to geek out about the modern, futuristic tech and powertrains rolling out today.