A Toyota car stops automatically before a dummy, during a pre-collision system test in the demonstration of its safety technologies in Susono near Mount Fuji, west of Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, July 21, 2011. (Koji Sasahara/AP)

Cars that slow before impact already exist, but Toyota is going a step further with their steering-control feature. The system uses cameras and sensitive radar technology called “millimeter-wave” to help detect pedestrians.

The effort comes as the world’s automakers race to add more complex safety features to gain a competitive edge in the market. No word yet on when consumers can expect the technology to be released, but officials hinted it might be soon.

Other innovations Toyota announced Thursday include pop-up hoods that reduce pedestrian injuries in accidents, high-beam headlights that appear low to other drivers and a steering wheel that measures heartbeats to prevent crashes from heart attacks.

(Associated Press)