Toyota's new pre-crash technology directs steering

Jul 21, 2011 By YURI KAGEYAMA , AP Business Writer

Toyota is developing a safety technology that takes control of the steering so the vehicle can veer away when it isn't able to stop before impact.

Toyota Motor Corp. showed some of its up and coming safety innovations in a demonstration to reporters Thursday at its facility in this town, west of Tokyo, near Mount Fuji.

All the world's are working on special safety technology in an effort to woo customers, as competition intensifies among manufacturers already neck-and-neck in delivering the regular features for their products.

Cars that stop or slow down automatically before an object or person in anticipation of a possible crash are not new. But Toyota's latest pre-collision system adds a steering-control feature.

In the new system, Toyota uses cameras and a super sensitive radar called "millimeter-wave," both installed in the front of the vehicle, to detect possible crashes such as a pedestrian crossing the road.

The vehicle calculates how braking and steering must be applied to avoid a crash, said chief safety technology officer Moritaka Yoshida.

"We must learn from accidents and keep making improvements in ," he said.

The Japanese automaker declined to say when the feature may be offered on a commercial model, or in which markets, but officials hinted it was ready to be offered soon.

Toyota said it was aiming for zero fatalities and injuries, although it did not say when that goal would be achieved.

Fatalities have been declining in auto accidents, because of better safety features, but deaths among in have not gone down in Japan.

Protecting pedestrians is increasingly key, according to Toyota, which makes the hybrid and Lexus luxury models.

Toyota showed what is called a pop-up hood, which rises slightly in a crash, to mitigate the impact of a pedestrian getting hit by a car, similar to features offered by European makers.

It also showed how parts of the rays from high-beam headlights could be blocked so that drivers could still see clearly what was ahead while headlights would appear to be on low beam to the driver in a car coming from the other direction.

Toyota also showed a steering wheel in development that measures the heartbeat of the driver to prevent crashes that can happen when drivers suffer heart attacks.

Explore further: For Google's self-driving cars, learning to deal with the bizarre is essential

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Prius gets sound option to protect pedestrians

Aug 24, 2010

(AP) -- Toyota's Prius hybrid is becoming a little less quiet with a new electronic humming device that is the automaker's answer to complaints that pedestrians can't hear the top-selling car approaching.

Toyota to launch six new hybrids by end of 2012

Sep 14, 2010

The world's top automaker Toyota Motor plans to launch six new hybrid models by the end of 2012, a spokesman for the company said Tuesday, as competition to build greener cars heats up.

Someday 'talking cars' may save lives

Jan 27, 2011

Could "talking cars" save lives? Auto companies are developing safety systems using advanced WiFi signals and GPS systems that could allow vehicles to communicate with each other on the road. The cars could then send messages ...

Toyota unveils hybrid car push

Nov 18, 2010

The world's top automaker Toyota Motor plans to launch 11 new hybrid models by the end of 2012, the company said Thursday, as the race to build more environmentally friendly vehicles heats up.

New car tech: Not just crash protection, but prevention

Jan 28, 2009

A car that can brake itself to avoid a fender-bender during the morning commute might seem far into the future. Except it goes on sale in March. That's when City Safety, a low-speed collision-avoidance technology becomes ...

Toyota's Japan hybrid sales top one million

Aug 06, 2010

Toyota Motor said Friday that its hybrid vehicle sales in Japan had topped the one million mark and worldwide it had sold 2.68 million of the vehicles by the end of July.

Recommended for you

Bluetooth may be the key to your future smart home

23 hours ago

If you've ever considered trying to turn your house into a smart home, you've likely found the prospect expensive or technologically intimidating. That situation could soon change, thanks in part to an old ...

Self-driving cars could be the answer to congested roads

Nov 24, 2014

If cars with drivers still suffer under gridlock conditions on roads, how will driverless cars fare any better? With greater computerisation and network awareness, driverless cars may be the answer to growing ...

User comments : 23

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dogbert
1 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2011
If they add steering control to their vehicles, I hope they include a way to turn it off. I like Toyota, but I don't want my car steering itself.
Dinotron
5 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2011
What could possibly go wrong!?
dogbert
2 / 5 (4) Jul 21, 2011
What could possibly go wrong!?


Precisely.

I'm also wondering if the manufacturer is planning to accept responsibility for injuries which can be shown to be the result of their self steering technology. I hope Toyota thinks about that. It might not be an issue in Japan, but it certainly will be in the U.S.
Roj
not rated yet Jul 21, 2011
Cameras & Radar.. both installed in the front of the vehicle, to detect possible crashes
Veering to one side may crash into other cars, telephone poles, or fly off cliffs.
finitesolutions
5 / 5 (1) Jul 21, 2011
But doing nothing will cause an accident!
finitesolutions
5 / 5 (1) Jul 21, 2011
And humans neurons are too slow to react. I am sure Toyota did some research and know very well the behavior of their drivers. The car reacts faster than humans. Just bear it.
dogbert
1 / 5 (2) Jul 21, 2011
finitesolutions,

There are pending accidents/accidents where avoidance is not possible or avoidance of the primary accident may result in a secondary accident which may be worse than the primary accident.

When an accident cannot be avoided, a careful driver may be able to guide his vehicle in such a manner as to minimize injury/death. The driver cannot do this is the steering is taken out of his control.

I worry about foolishness like this. There are already cars on the road with no direct linkage between the steering wheel and the wheels. Electronic failure could leave the driver with an inability to drive. The proposal in this article is really scary.
finitesolutions
5 / 5 (1) Jul 22, 2011


I worry about foolishness like this. There are already cars on the road with no direct linkage between the steering wheel and the wheels. Electronic failure could leave the driver with an inability to drive. The proposal in this article is really scary.


The main cause of accidents is human drivers and not physical failures. So if yes some new type of accidents are introduced but a large part are solved it is worth-ed. 0 accidents will be nice and can happen with an all automatic transport system.
I am sure all car manufacturers are studying current exiting accidents in which their vehicles have been involved and are developing new technology based on it. ABS, airbag, belts have all been introduced to improve safety of the vehicle and occupants.
Magnette
3 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2011

I worry about foolishness like this. There are already cars on the road with no direct linkage between the steering wheel and the wheels. Electronic failure could leave the driver with an inability to drive. The proposal in this article is really scary.


Cars with electric steering have been around in Europe for at least ten years now, I've had cars with electric steering for the last 8 years.
I just had a quick Google and found no major accidents reported due to electronics failure.

As an experienced race car driver I can say that instinct seems to work quite well in potential accident scenarios. It's not as if you sit there thinking 'I'm going to have an accident what should I do?', experience related instinct takes over considerably quicker thank actually thinking about what to do.

I have a car that can self park but I really don't want it being able to take avoiding actions for me as I will be more aware of everything around me than the car will ever be.
BenjaminButton
5 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2011
@Magnette: Seems to me you're somewhat of a special case...being an experienced race car driver you surely have a much keener sense of driving than most so for you it may not be totally necessary. However I know that for me anyway there have been situations where it's exactly that: 'I'm going to have an accident what should I do?' scenario. I have never crashed but I know that sometimes it's been pure luck because all my brain could compute was "oh shit"...and I'd the majority are the same.
BenjaminButton
5 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2011
If the sensor technology is comprehensive enough and the processor speed fast enough this could effectively rule out the pobbibility of a crash occuring...that is: as much as steering can be effective in avoiding a crash.
Magnette
5 / 5 (1) Jul 22, 2011
'I have never crashed but I know that sometimes it's been pure luck because all my brain could compute was "oh shit"...and I'd the majority are the same.' - BenjaminButton

But whilst you're thinking "oh shit" you'll find that your hands and feet are off doing other stuff to attempt to avoid the accident.
Self preservation plays a large part even with an inexperienced driver.

Oh, and my wife tells me I'm a special case as well. :-)
dogbert
1 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2011
BenjaminButton,

Let me discuss a real accident I was involved in some years ago as an illustration of why an automated system may cause injury/death.

I was in a town with a four lane plus turning lane main street. As I was driving down the outside lane, a car with four teenage girls was passing me in the middle lane when the driver saw someone in the parking lot of a car dealership. The driver immediately turned right in front of me (certainly did not even see me). I could not avoid hitting the car. There was not enough distance between us to steer out of the accident nor was there enough time to stop. I was about to hit the front door passenger side which would have caused injury or death to the occupant. I managed to steer into the area between the front and back seats. This caused considerable damage to the car (and mine) but no one was injured in either car.

An automated system which would try to steer away from the accident would have killed/injured the passenger in that car.
xznofile
not rated yet Jul 23, 2011
Obviously they'll sell like hotcakes because in order to protect against inadvertent collisions from self diverting cars, all cars will have to be equipped as a matter of survival. A simple solution for manufacturers liability would be a headband that enhances the drivers awareness and response time with a bolt of electricity, thus any fault would be shifted to the operator for not moving fast enough (or having a seizure instead).
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (34) Jul 24, 2011
"I hope Toyota thinks about that. It might not be an issue in Japan, but it certainly will be in the U.S." - DogBerTard

The U.S. market is becoming less and less relevant by the second.

Vendicar_Decarian
0 / 5 (33) Jul 24, 2011
Having a stroke may cause a crash into other cars, telephone poles, or fly of cliffs.

"Veering to one side may crash into other cars, telephone poles, or fly off cliffs." - Vern
dogbert
1 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2011
Vendicar_Decarian ,

You are just a troll.

Why don't you occasionally try to participate in a positive way to the discussion?
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (7) Jul 24, 2011
@Magnette

Look up the Dunning-Kruger effect. You are foolish if you think you can react faster than a computer.

Racing cars doesn't give you the Flash's reflexes.

Vendicar_Decarian ,

You are just a troll.

Why don't you occasionally try to participate in a positive way to the discussion?


I barely escaped that singularity of irony.
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (7) Jul 24, 2011
@BenjaminButton

The "oh shit" maneuver saved me once. Took a turn too fast and the car went 180. "Oh shit" and I took my hands off the wheel because I accepted I was going to crash and didn't want to get my shoulders dislocated from locking onto the wheel. The car whipped itself back around on its own and I ended up stopping virtually bumper to bumper with a car in the opposing lane.

Gave him a wave, put it in reverse, got back in my lane, and drove off. I drive much more carefully now.
Burnerjack
1 / 5 (1) Jul 24, 2011
Wouldn't it be simpler to just watch where we are going with due diligence like the last generation did?
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (7) Jul 24, 2011
What an asinine comment, Burnerjack.

Back in the day I walked 20 miles to school up hill BOTH WAYS and all I had to scrub my balls were Brillo pads!
Magnette
not rated yet Jul 25, 2011
@Magnette

Look up the Dunning-Kruger effect. You are foolish if you think you can react faster than a computer.

Racing cars doesn't give you the Flash's reflexes.

Vendicar_Decarian ,

You are just a troll.

Why don't you occasionally try to participate in a positive way to the discussion?


I barely escaped that singularity of irony.


FH, you are quite correct that being a race driver doesn't give me the reactions of the Flash and, whilst my reactions are probably quicker than a lot of drivers, I will never beat a computer in a head-to-head situation however there is the situation that the drivers senses will always give him more input into a given situation than any on-board sensors ever will and that will allow the driver to react better although not necessarily faster.
Modern car ecu's are good but I suspect it will be a good while before they are capable of matching data input from outside of the vehicle with a drivers abilities to do the same.
Vendicar_Decarian
Jul 26, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Jimbaloid
not rated yet Aug 02, 2011
I once came across a stag at night on a bend of a country road at about 50mph and on my side of the road. I knew that a car was coming fast on the opposite side, but only because I had seen headlamps playing along the hedgerows. The small bank below the hedgerow was firm and dry looking. I left the road and mounted the bank briefly to avoid the animal rather than to stay on the road and cut across the apex of the bend. In doing so I avoided both the animal and a collision (possibly head on) - just a few scratches to the paintwork from the hedgerow. I'm not using this example to say we should never try to have automated systems, but it isn't all just city driving, and you don't have time to turn it off if the situation doesn't fit. I can't see how an automated system could have coped (worse interfered) in my situation, and I suspect it would have put me in the path of the unseen car.

Existing auto-brake systems are only active at lower speeds, it is likely this would be the same?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.