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Toyota develops high-speed crash-avoidance system

Advance signals that the technology is moving to low-priced vehicles.

By Douglas Newcomb Nov 14, 2012 1:38PM

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.”

Toyota Pre-collision System. Image by Toyota.[Source: Toyota]

Nov 15, 2012 6:53AM
Disagree V68VTEC,  Yes people are careless and could use more drivers ed, you are not going to change that, humans are imperfect by nature. The article did not say they were removing the driver all together, just adding some crash avoidance. I don't think having crash avoidance is going to make you drive more careless, no one is going to want to rely on it.
  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?

Nov 15, 2012 5:29AM
Also, I would expect that Insurance companies will lower premiums on cars that have pre-collision autonomous braking.  Makes sense, right?  It should pay for itself.  If I buy the 2013 Subaru Legacy with Eyesight and pre-collision braking, I'm going to petition AAA to lower my insurance premium.

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.

Nov 15, 2012 5:23AM
I tried out the new Eyesight adaptive cruise control in a test drive last week.  I'm sold.  It has been in cars in Japan for a couple of years.  The same logic does pre-collision braking and lane departure warning.  They implemented in a away that you don't even realize it is there -- but it won't let you run into the car in front of you if the difference in your speeds is less than 19 MPH.

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?

Nov 24, 2012 4:20PM
I have a lot to say on this issue but I will be as brief as possible. I have 42 years' experience in civil engineering highway design.  I have attended two FHWA highway design safety courses during that time. The major cause of accidents in Idaho and likely most other states is inattentive driving.  Cell phone use while driving is a major player in inattentive driving.  Then the driver overcorrects and loses control of the vehicle. It rolls, resulting in extremely serious and usually fatal accidents.  Therefore, any safety device installed in vehicles that works is absolutely necessary.
Nov 24, 2012 1:57PM
I Yi Yi Yi How about a TEST before the vehicle will Start? I can tell you how aggresive driver's cause TOO many accident's - The ME first attitude put's alot of Innocent people at RISK.  Please Take your driving seriously lose the cell-phone and concentrate,  Driving IS a privilage treat it as such.
Nov 24, 2012 10:13PM
What happens if the Toyota [or any other similiar-eqipped car] brakes automatically on an icy road? Let's hope there is no cliff by the road side.
Nov 14, 2012 4:56PM
So the solution to careless driving is removing the driver all-together? I say let's save a few million dollars and teach people how to drive again. More safety technologies make people think they are invincible- and people still wonder why people drive like they do. 
Nov 24, 2012 2:39PM
not sure if insurance will lower rates for those cars though....  on some toyotas, the toyota emblem on the grill is almost  $2,000 vs the usual $20 due to this technology.  You scratch it in a minor situation and estimate just went up $2,000 per vehicle. 
Nov 24, 2012 4:01PM
If there ever was a car manufacturer that needs technology to slow down a speeding run-away's Toyota! Oh what a feeling!
Nov 24, 2012 5:50PM
what a concept. can't think of another automaker that ever did something like this. oh wait, yeah it was mercedes about 4 or 5 years ago. idiots!
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