Toyota Drives Toward A Safer Future

August 6, 2011
Toyota's heart rate monitor

Toyota's heart rate monitor

While every automaker seems to emphasize the safety of its cars these days, Toyota is still fighting the battle to restore their reputation following last year’s series of product recalls and unintended acceleration debacle. No one wants to present a better view of itself in the public eye than the Japanese auto giant, which recently revealed key safety-related innovations coming on future models.

Toyota’s Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) with collision-avoidance system assist uses millimeter-wave radar and a camera to monitor the road in front of the vehicle. If a possible collision is detected, PCS applies the brakes without requiring driver input; in this regard, it’s much like systems from Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Toyota’s PCS takes a departure from other systems in one regard: if the system detects a clear path to the left or right of the vehicle, it will employ steering as well as braking to avoid a collision.

Like Ford, Toyota is working on a system to monitor a driver’s heart rate via sensors embedded in the steering wheel. If the system detects a sudden change in cardio-vascular function, as would likely occur during a heart attack or blackout, it can alert authorities to a possible medical emergency and even provide the precise location of the vehicle and driver. Still in the early stages of development, such a system would help to reduce the time between the onset of a medical emergency and the arrival of first responders, likely saving a significant number of lives worldwide.

Toyota has currently implemented other safety features into their vehicles, including a second-generation automatic high beam function that dims headlights for oncoming cars without significantly impacting nighttime visibility for the driver.

Their pop-up hood system minimizes the risk of injury to pedestrians in the event of a frontal impact. By raising the back of the hood and increasing the distance between the hood and the engine, Toyota is able to reduce the chance of pedestrian head injuries in vehicle-pedestrian accidents.

Toyota’s ultimate goal is to eliminate vehicle injuries and fatalities. While that may never be achieved, it’s clear that safer cars will result from their efforts.

[Toyota via All Car Tech]

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