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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 25, 2012 5:52AM
Insurance premiums will never be decreace . Many milions of people just make big bucks with this and some make billions . So whatever you get in the car you will pay much more than it costs
Nov 25, 2012 5:28AM

I dont want a computer deciding how I should react to a crash. How do you accelerate if it is trying to stop you from rear ending a car and a semi is going run you over from behind. No thanks I will make my own decisions.

Nov 25, 2012 5:24AM
This has been on Lincoln for a while, called adaptive cruise control, so you turn it on if you want to.  Works great!!!  This is not new technology.
Nov 25, 2012 5:21AM
Volvo has had it for years. The is no possible way to avoid an accident, other than driving at the posted speed limit and being a defensive driver, not aggressive driver.
Nov 25, 2012 3:28AM
I saw an interview with a traffic safety engineer a few years ago.  When he was asked what would be the most effective safety device that could be installed in a car, he jokingly said it would be a 6" dagger sticking out of the center of the steering wheel.  With the dagger tip only inches from the driver's chest, the driver would drive way more cautiously.  Definitely low tech and cheap.
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 24, 2012 7:03PM
What's needed is more sensors on the loose nut behind the steering wheel...we could prevent most accidents with a few inexpensive sensors as a back up for inadvertent bad decisions
Nov 24, 2012 5:53PM

I believe that one of the simplest and most consequential steps we could take to make roads safer is to ban NASCAR, which glamorizes fast, reckless driving. If we can succeed in making overly aggressive driving as socially unacceptable as smoking tobacco, we could seriously reduce our overall traffic accident/death rates without investing a single dime in new technologies.

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!
Nov 24, 2012 5:23PM
How about instead of this we make car's far more crash resistant. We have had the technology in racing cars for a long time. Race car drivers never get seriously hurt anymore. If car manufactures cared more for people then they do for the all mighty pennies they save on making cars cheaper for their bottom  there would be FAR less deaths on the highway.  This is the absolute TRUTH
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