Toyota bares 9 new safety systems to watch out for in 2015, and beyond

TOKYO, Japan—Worldwide, an estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road mishaps each year, and as many as 50 million are injured. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), projections indicate that these figures will increase by about 65 percent over the next 20 years. It added: “The tragedy behind these figures attracts less mass media attention than other less frequent types of tragedies.”

Unless there are renewed, improved and more informed safety commitments from the pedestrian, the motorist and the automaker, WHO’s projections would most likely come to pass.
No driving system is perfect. No car is ever immune to accidents, and to err behind the wheel and on the road is human. However, today’s automotive technologies are finding ways to make accidents (or at least the fatal ones) harder and harder to occur.

At the technology drive with automotive giant Toyota on Nov. 25 and 26, the automaker revealed its nine next-generation safety features and updates that would either be integrated into some of its 2015 select new models in Japan or be introduced globally in 2015, and rolled out across most passenger models and grades in Japan, North America and Europe by the end of 2017. Some of these active safety technologies will be offered in the form of two “Toyota Safety Sense” packages depending on vehicle type: A “C” package for compact cars and a “P” package for midsize and high-end cars.

 

• More sensors for Intelligent Clearance Sonar

This is probably one of the niftiest updated safety feature to be seen in 2015 Toyota models as part of the enhanced Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) technology, which detects obstacles and helps prevent or mitigate collisions caused by rapid acceleration after pedal misapplication. The new ICS includes more sensors and can detect objects farther away, contributing to an increase in scanning depth and breadth. Its control logic has been improved to help prevent or mitigate collisions with adjacent vehicles or obstacles even when pedal misapplication is not the cause, such as during low-speed driving in parking lots or when pulling out of parking spaces.

 

• See-through mode for Panoramic View Monitor

An existing safety feature— the Panoramic View Monitor—has been enhanced with a new See-through view. Through a monitor at the center console, a driver will not just be seeing the whole car from a bird’s eye view, he or she can see the vehicle’s actual surroundings, so all blind spots are practically wiped out.
This was demonstrated to INQUIRER Motoring. A child mannequin on a bike was placed on the left side of a test track beside the demo car, and was not visible to the driver. A press of a button allowed the driver to flip between Moving View, which displays bird’s eye views, and See-through view, which gives a driver’s perspective view of the vehicle’s surrounding, as if the vehicle itself were transparent. In both features, the “invisible” child was spotted by the driver. Compared to the Moving view, however, the See-through View displays nearby obstacles larger, making them easier to identify.

 

• Pre-Collision Systems; automatic or supplemental brakes

Toyota’s Pre-Collision Systems (PCS) declares that automated brakes are not anymore exclusive to ultra luxury vehicles. In the demo, a test vehicle was made to run at 30 kilometers per hour toward a stationary obstacle (in this case, another car). The test vehicle braked on its own as it approached the obstacle. This was explained as part of the Toyota Safety Sense C and P, and will be offered as part of the 2015 safety packages and rolled out across most passenger models and grades in Japan, North America and Europe by the end of 2017. It is hoped that this feature will find its way to Toyota models in the Philippines.

PCS uses lasers and cameras to detect objects ahead and in the path of the vehicle; and when there is a possibility of a collision, it prompts the driver to brake using audio and visual alerts. When the driver reacts accordingly and applies the brakes, the system provides additional braking force. If the driver fails to brake in time, PCS automatically applies the brakes, reducing speed by approximately 30 kph, giving the driver enough time to react and ample supplemental brake force to avoid a collision.

 

• Lane Departure Alert Lane Departure Alert,

or LDA, uses a camera to detect white and yellow lane markings. If the vehicle starts to deviate from the lane, LDA alerts the driver with an audio and visual alert. This will be part of Toyota Safety Sense C and P.

 

• Automatic High Beam 

Automatic High Beams help forward visibility, and uses a camera to detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and the tail lights of vehicles ahead, and then automatically switches between high beams and low beams so as not to dazzle other drivers. This will also be part of Toyota Safety Sense C and P.

 

• PCS with pedestrian detection

Toyota’s PCS features technology that distinguishes between pedestrians and inanimate obstacles. In the demo, an adult mannequin was placed in front of the test track. The PCS used millimeter-wave radar and a camera to detect pedestrians. Again, the PCS activated the automatic brakes and stopped the test vehicle (which was running at 30 kph) before it hit the pedestrian. This will be part of Toyota Safety Sense P.• Radar Cruise Control This safety feature detects inter-vehicular distances and relative speeds. It uses millimeterwave radar to detect the other moving vehicles and determine their speed. It then adjusts vehicle speed (within a set range) to ensure that there is a safe distance between vehicles. By using a forward-facing camera and millimeter-wave radar to monitor vehicles merging into or out of the lane, this will also help maintain smooth acceleration and deceleration while driving. This will be part of Toyota Safety Sense P.

 

• Wireless frequencies to help maintain safe distances between vehicles

For application outside of vehicles, this technology will be made available in 2015, but only in selected new models and on sophisticated road systems such as those found in Japan. For instance, at intersections with blind spots, information about oncoming vehicles and pedestrians detected by sensors above the road will be conveyed via road-to-vehicle communication, and information about approaching vehicles will be conveyed via vehicle-to-vehicle communications, with audio and visual alerts warning drivers when necessary. The system will use the dedicated Intelligent Transport System frequency of 760 MHz for roadto-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communications to gather information that cannot be obtained by onboard sensors.
Starting next year, Toyota’s new models will be compatible with advanced vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems that use wireless frequency reserved for Intelligent Transport Systems. • Park Assist Toyota’s Intelligent Park Assist System, which was enhanced for 2015 models, now uses ICS to help prevent or mitigate collisions through automated braking. A new multipoint turn support function automatically controls steering in tight parking spaces requiring repeated back and forth movements. Another partially automated function assists departure from parallel parking spaces with little room in front of and behind the vehicle.

Back home, we can only hope that our road safety infrastructure catches up with automotive technologies just in time before we and our loved ones’ lives are put at risk when we step out into the organized chaos that is the Philippine road network.

 

Taken from:
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Issue: 10 Dec 2014
Page: B3-2 Motoring

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