Toyota Develops New Pedestrian Safety Technology

Toyota Motor Corporation announced yesterday, October 10, that it has developed a Pre-collision System (PCS) that uses automatic steering in addition to increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking to help prevent collisions with pedestrians.

This announcement comes a couple of days after Law Firm of McCuneWright, LLP, announced the filing of a nationwide class action entitled Lee v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. The law firm made the announcement October 8. The lawsuit alleges that since at least 2010, Toyota has marketed and sold a Pre-Collision System (PCS) in its high-end Prius Five vehicles that is not up to its marketing claims.

Toyota said its new PCS with Pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist can help prevent collisions in cases where automatic braking alone is not sufficient, such as when the vehicle is traveling too fast or a pedestrian suddenly steps into the vehicle’s path.

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An on-board sensor detects pedestrians and issues a visual alert on the dashboard immediately in front of the driver if the system determines that there is a risk of collision.  If the likelihood of a collision increases, the system issues an audio and visual alarm to encourage the driver to take evasive action, and the increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking functions are activated.  If the system determines that a collision cannot be avoided by braking alone and there is sufficient room for avoidance, steer assist is activated to steer the vehicle away from the pedestrian.

Toyota declared the number of traffic fatalities in Japan has declined for 12 consecutive years, reaching 4,411 in 2012.  However, of that total, pedestrian fatalities are the most common, accounting for 37 percent.

Last year, Toyota said it developed a system that uses increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking to help prevent collisions with pedestrians.  The system, which was adopted on the Lexus “LS”, warns the driver when it detects a potential collision with a pedestrian or obstacle. If the driver does not take action to avoid the collision, the system activates.

TMC also said it aims to make PCS (Pedestrian-avoidance with no steer assist) more affordable and roll it out by 2015 on a wider range of vehicles, before introducing PCS with Pedestrian-avoidance Steer Assist.