Toyota develops high-speed crash-avoidance system
Advance signals that the technology is moving to low-priced vehicles.
The likelihood of being injured or dying from crashing into another car is decreasing thanks to advances in active safety technology. But new crash-avoidance systems from Toyota will soon be available on more cars -- and will work at higher speeds than the systems on most of today's luxury models.
While Volvo offers crash-avoidance systems that automatically apply the vehicle’s brakes to guard against collisions with other cars and pedestrians at speeds of up to 20 mph, Toyota plans to introduce high-speed collision mitigation and prevention to low-cost cars.
“Collision warning systems are becoming more widely available and they -- as with many other [active safety] applications -- are adding functionality, often of the semi-autonomous variety,” Jeremy Carlson, an analyst with IHS Global, told MSN Autos. “Collision warning systems are evolving from alert-only to include some form of … autonomous emergency braking, different from but an extension of the convenience braking of an adaptive cruise-control system."
The latest version of Toyota's Pre-collision System employs a millimeter-wave radar sensor to first warn the driver with audible and visual alerts when it detects a possible frontal collision. Even if a driver applies the brakes, the PCS increases the braking force up to twice that of an average driver, slowing the car by up to approximately 37 mph. If the driver doesn’t apply the brakes in time, the system automatically decelerates the car between approximately 9 to 19 mph to reduce the force of the crash.
Audi, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz all offer crash-avoidance systems that automatically apply the brakes at high speeds to prevent the host car from rear-ending a vehicle in front. And auto supplier Continental recently unveiled a new dual-camera system designed to better detect and prevent high-speed collisions, which is rumored to debut on the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Subaru has recently introduced a similar EyeSight technology.
According to Toyota, more than 90 percent of rear-end collisions occur when the difference in speed between the two vehicles involved is within 37 mph, and the company said its goal was to develop a system based on real-world collision data. Toyota also noted that the new system can be applied in a wide array of vehicles and will be rolled out on soon-to-launch models. This means more people will be protected in crashes, not just those who can afford a luxury vehicle.
It also means automakers are taking baby steps toward autonomous driving through systems like Toyota’s PCS.
"As the auto industry tries to avoid subtracting the driver from the driving equation too quickly,” said Carlson, “they are implementing selective and largely nonintrusive autonomous emergency braking functionality only in the final seconds or milliseconds before impact to scrub off enough energy and speed to ameliorate and mitigate the force of impact.”
If technology can prevent these crashes, then it should be done. If your daughter or wife got hurt from someone rear ending her, you will have wished that the vehicle that hit her had this type of technology and avoided the accident all together. Right?
According to AAA, the US spends $300 billion per year on car crashes -- about what we spent to fund the war in Iraq over several years. And we pay $167 million in car insurance premiums. And, of course, 33,000 people die each year.
The NTSB yesterday came out strongly in favor of pre-collision braking. They sited crashes where a truck just plowed into the cars in front of it because of inattentiveness, or texting. I bet the other commenters below would certainly like the truck behind them to have pre-collision autonomous braking. Right?
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