Wednesday, 30 July 2014
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Toyota adds extra functionality to pedestrian safety systems

Toyota has added automated steering to its pre-collision brake assist function and automated braking systems.

The new system uses its on-board sensor to detect the risk of collision with an obstacle or pedestrian, initially warning the driver with visual and audible alerts.

Pre-collision brake assist and automated braking functions are activated when the system detects a sustained high risk of collision. In a situation where a collision is unavoidable with brakes alone and there is enough room available, it will steer the vehicle away from the hazard.

Toyota says it plans to bring advanced pre-collision systems (without steer assist) to market by 2015, with pre-collision systems steer assist to follow.

Source: Toyota Motor Company

Toyota has unveiled technology aimed at eliminating collisions with pedestrians


Readers' comments (10)

  • Great idea as a an alert system, not so sure about automatic braking or worse steering.

    With automatic change of path even by 70cm, this could put the car in a head on clip with an on coming vehicle with even more disastrous results as the cars spin out of control with an 80mph impact, or it could take the car into another group of pedestrians waiting to cross. AI and sensor system are not good enough for the number of potential scenarios (yet!).

    What are the risks of false positives and the human factor of relying on the system??

    Or dare I mention the recall and law suite Toyota has had to meet over its anti-lock recall or unintended acceleration. Not all software - but engineering/design errors nonetheless.

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  • ABS, traction control, stability programs etc are all designed to augment and regulate the actions of the driver. This system physicaly takes control of the vehicle away from the driver. For all the reasons listed by brian M this is a very bad thing.

    If you repeated this test with an artic lorry coming in the oposite direction how many of the systems engineers would volunteer to be in the car?

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  • So.... There I am driving home from work in the Highlands or other part of Britain, on some of the narrow wooded roads, a deer jumps out of the side and starts to cross and before I know it I'm off the road upside down in a ditch or burn.

    I hope the above has been tested and proven.

    Another thought that springs to mind is what happens in the event of two pedestrians converging from opposite sides as at pedestrian crossing.

    I'm sure Toyota have thought of this and my local rep will be able to explain all outcomes when this technology is finally on the road.

    I suppose however the technologies must be developed as part of the road-map route to driverless / autonomous cars.

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  • I can just imagine all the fun local kids will have jumping out & back again. God knows how one would be able to drive down a mixed traffic zone.

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  • This is lethal and should be stopped immediately. I agree with others that a deviation, even a minor one, could result in a fatal collision. Regardless of the systems on board, the DRIVER still has legal responsibility for the control of the vehicle and the last thing a driver wants is the machine to "twitch" away as if it were out of control !!

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  • How long before Muppet teenagers think it funny to watch drivers swerve and stop, or start playing chicken! Not sure I would want it. But no doubt the EU loonies will insist on it

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  • I too am very concerned at the potential for secondary effects such as damage to vehicles alongside, loss of control in bad road conditions with the attendant risks and also the potential for mounting the kerb if the pedestrian is towards the center of the road. I also note that there is no mention of sounding the vehicle horn. It might at first appear a good idea but I feel it needs much more thought

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  • I see the steering reaction is within the lane so no conflict with the oncoming artic. As Geofrey says it all leads to autonomous vehicles. Can't wait.

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  • As a developer of automated systems I am sure the engineers at Toyota have given plenty of thought to avoiding all obstacles including ditches, on-coming traffic, other pedestrians etc.
    Obviously the system would not swerve violently at high speeds and would take the absolute safest path that would be calculated to take all obstacles into account.
    As far as shared zones... How fast do you think the car will be going in a shared zone anyway? The microprocessors running a collision avoidance system will be taking thousands, if not millions of samples a second - at a much higher rate than a human could ever do. People are quick to jump on the wagon with pessimistic paranoia but the truth is that so many fail safes are built into this type of system that the chances of it exacerbating a situation is almost nil when compared to the huge safety benefits it offers. Humans are just not that great and if cars were invented new today then humans would probably not be allowed to drive them at all. We are a varied collection of preoccupied, over caffeinated, sometimes drugged, drunk or overtired organic computers that are overconfident in our abilities. Take for example the Google self drive car that went for hundreds of thousands of kilometres without incident but was crashed when a human was driving.
    Get over it people - the truth is that automated systems have to be 1000 times more accurate and safe than a human before people will accept them.

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  • There is no mention in the article or video presentation of sensors to detect if there is another vehicle immediately beside it before steering to avoid the obstacle ahead. Even a deviation of 70 cm may be enough to collide with a two-wheeler (powered or not) filtering through traffic, over-taking in narrow lanes or passing in a cycle lane, or cause them to take drastic avoiding action. Just ensuring that the steering action remains within the lane is not enough.

    Admittedly many human drivers could similarly fail to notice a two-wheeler. But, as other comments indicate, it's surely right to ensure that safety systems are designed to operate in all foreseeable real-world circumstances before agreeing to allow them to take control away from the driver.

    I don't share the confidence of the anonymous developer of automated systems who commented here. But I do agree that such systems need to be 1000 times safer than a human driver before they will be accepted. So far this proposal, like 'road-train' convoy systems, does not inspire the necessary confidence. As a road-user on two wheels I look forward to the introduction of such systems with trepidation.

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