Toyota Pre-Crash Safety: Protection That Works Before An Accident Happens | Part Two

The radar provides excellent object recognition, even in bad weather and darkness. It feeds information to a control unit equipped with software which determines whether a collision is going to take place on the basis of the course and speed of the vehicle, driver input in steering, throttle and braking, and the position, speed and course of any vehicles or obstacles ahead.

If an impact is judged to be inevitable, the Pre-crash seatbelt retracts to provide the best possible restraint of the driver or passenger. As soon as the driver begins to apply the brakes, the Pre-crash Brake Assist is activated, increasing brake pressure in line with the degree of pressure being exerted on the pedal.

Analysis of around 9,000 annual traffic-related fatalities in Japan revealed that, if Pre-crash Safety had been fitted to all vehicles, one per cent of victims might have survived.

Pre-crash Safety has been under development for 10 years as part of Toyota’s wider Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) research. Elements of this which have already gone into service include a radar-based cruise control and blind corner monitoring, which gives the driver improved vision at junctions by relaying images from cameras mounted on the front bumper to a dashboard screen.

Toyota’s ITS programme also embraces advanced navigation and public transport systems. Moves are also being made towards fully automatic driving with research into technology which automatically controls vehicle speed, direction and position in relation to other road users.

Pre-crash Safety could find its way into a production vehicle before the end of 2003 but no timetable has been set for its introduction in models for the UK market.

Published 21 December 2002 Melanie Carter

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