Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  24 Jun 2010

MOTORING: Digitising SA Cities with the Toyota Prius


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In September 2009 Toyota South Africa Motors handed over a fleet of hybrid Toyota Prius vehicles to Google, for the purpose of collecting 360 degree images of South Africa’s cities, major towns and notable tourist spots, such as the Kruger National Park.

Now, close to 9 months and over 64 000 km later, Google Street View in South Africa is a reality! As an added bonus Toyota South Africa has already integrated Google Street View and Google Maps into its own website to enable current and prospective customers to locate and inspect their nearest dealer. This feature has been linked to, making it one of the first companies in the country to make use of the new Google offering.

Google’s Street View is a unique product that offers 360 degree photographic imagery of cities and notable points of interest. These images are collected from a complex proprietary camera system mounted on the roof of the Prius vehicles as they drive on public roads throughout South Africa. A total of 27 cities and major towns in South Africa were digitally photographed in this way.

“We would like to congratulate Google on their hard work in collecting images and digitising them ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, which is currently being held in South Africa. Their technology offers locals and foreign visitors a unique view of our beautiful country and our world class soccer stadiums, which will benefit the country for a long time to come,” says Andrew Kirby, Senior Vice President: Sales and Marketing at Toyota South Africa.

“We are proud of the fact that Google chose the Prius for this mammoth task, as it offers the most environmentally efficient and one of the most reliable transport solutions for their tour through South Africa,” says Kirby.

The new generation Toyota Prius, introduced late in 2009, offers the lowest CO2 emissions of any new vehicle available on the market (at 94 g/km) thanks to its innovative and unique Hybrid Synergy Drive. The system uses a combination of internal combustion and electric propulsion to offer extremely low fuel consumption and emission levels, without sacrificing vehicle performance. The Prius is one of only a small number of vehicles that will not be subject to the proposed emission tax, which is set for introduction later this year.

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