System steers Toyotas away from crash risks
SUSONO, Japan - Toyota is developing a safety technology that takes control of the steering so the vehicle can veer away when it is not able to stop before impact.
Toyota Motor Corp. showed some of its safety innovations in a demonstration yesterday.
All of the world’s automakers are working on safety technology in an effort to woo customers, as competition intensifies between manufacturers.
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 precollision system adds a steering-control feature.
Toyota uses cameras and a super-sensitive radar called millimeter-wave, both installed in the front of the vehicle, to detect possible crash risks, such as a pedestrian crossing the road. The vehicle calculates how braking and steering must be applied to avoid a crash, said Toyota’s chief safety technology officer, Moritaka Yoshida.
“We must learn from accidents and keep making improvements in safety features,’’ he said.
The 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 is aiming for zero fatalities and injuries.
Fatalities have been declining in auto accidents because of better safety features, but deaths of pedestrians in traffic accidents have not gone down in Japan.
Toyota showed a pop-up hood, which rises slightly in a crash to mitigate the impact of a pedestrian’s being hit by a car.
It also showed how parts of the rays from high-beam headlights could be blocked so that drivers could 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 would measures the heartbeat of the driver to prevent a crash should the driver suffer from a heart attack.