According to The Detroit News, Toyota is working on a new pre-crash system that will actually take control and steer the vehicle to minimize impact in the event of an unavoidable collision. The system combines super-sensitive radar with a camera array in the front fascia to detect possible impacts. On-board computers then calculate the correct levels of braking and steering required to avoid the crash, and if the driver fails to act, the automatic system takes over.

Like most manufacturers, Toyota has the admirable goal of reducing injuries and fatalities in its products to zero, though The Detroit News reports that the automaker wouldn't comment on when we could expect to see the innovations on the road. The pre-crash steering is specifically designed to reduce the chance of a vehicle-pedestrian impact, and Toyota is also working on systems to accommodate drivers who have heart attacks while behind the wheel.

It's true that vehicle fatalities have seen a steady decline over the past few years thanks to improved safety technology, but as cars get safer, drivers become even more detached from the task at hand. Economists call it a Jevons Paradox; drivers have effectively consumed the safety benefits supplied by car companies to become lazier and less safe than they would be without the tech. Maybe Toyota should find a way to force drivers to put down their phones, shut off their infotainment screens and simply drive. Just a thought.


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  • 54 Comments
      Shawn Brinker
      • 3 Years Ago
      Call me old fashioned, but all of this technology is getting out of hand. I am all for new safety features, but I think we are giving up too much control to computers when it comes to driving our cars. People have too many bad driving habits as it is, we need to stop giving them more reasons to think that their lack of driving skill is going to be compensated by their cars, and thus making them even less attentive than what they already are. Good God, I am only 36 years old, and already starting to sound like an old fogey.
        Drew
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Shawn Brinker
        Couldn't agree more. I'm only 21 and if you ask me the only technology that's good for cars is ABS and maybe TCS depending on the vehicle. All of this other crap just makes people worse drivers as they become more and more dependent on technology. Then if it ever fails the results are disastrous.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Shawn Brinker
        [blocked]
      Seph
      • 3 Years Ago
      That statement by Jevons Paradox is unbelievable. There's no way a sane driver would trust just a simple safety tech, and crash on to someone or on to a wall. Even if there's an insane driver who would do that, it's not that fault of the car companies, but it's rather the government regulations are to be blamed.
      tenspeeder
      • 3 Years Ago
      No surprise Toyota would design a system like this. They already have an accelerator pedal that can take control from the driver.
      Dane Grant
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota, Just try to build a car that doesn't harm, ruin or kill people, OK? Thanks, Dane
        Michael Ngo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dane Grant
        Do you read? That is why they're developing this "safety" system. Lmao
      Kiiks
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota clearly understands their customer base. This will be perfect for the idiots that can't remember which pedal does what.
      Oceanblue78
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just another reason to NOT buy a toyota.
      thomg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Having acceleration issues in the recent past, I would not feel safe driving/riding in a car that also has control over the steering...computers mess up sometimes...i don't know how this makes me feel.... FEAR. "Toyota recalls 150,000 cars after one Camry with the new "Auto-Steer" drove someone off a cliff"......
        • 3 Years Ago
        @thomg
        [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        @thomg
        [blocked]
      Renaurd
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh good grief, Toyota makes "my mother the car" come to life. No thank you Toyota, I can run myself into a tree.
      Jac Zobel de Ayala
      • 3 Years Ago
      Too late, Toyota. The Chevy Cruze already has this system. The steering wheel pops off when it senses danger (or whenever it wants to.) lolz
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        brian
        • 3 Years Ago
        Or you could just take the bus
        Gorgenapper
        • 3 Years Ago
        Let's automate exercise too. Sit in a chair, attach some electrodes and voila... exercise your muscles without sweat and fatigue. Eliminate exercise-related accidents, bulk up or tone your body while watching TV, listening to music or even while eating a twinkie or ten. While we're at it, let's automate sports too. Why risk sports injuries in games like soccer, football and hockey? Just have the players create electronic versions of themselves and pit them stat for stat in the arena. Let's make a true random number generator and set up some D&D rules so that the act of virtual sports will offer just as much excitement as the real thing. Starcraft II is already forging the way with E-tournaments and cyber athletes working their butts off to become the best click gamers this side of the continent. Who needs the visceral feel of a ton torque slamming you back in your seat, the art of manual shifting, rev matching and the aural stimulation of X number of cylinders and pistons roaring away under the hood? That's all caveman stuff. Now it's time for my double extra special frappucappulappayappachino no soy no milk no water extra cream. Fabulous.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Gorgenapper
          [blocked]
      jbm0866
      • 3 Years Ago
      Uhh...no thank you. I'll give a computer control over my shifts, partial braking and other such things...but steering is where I draw the line.
      A B
      • 3 Years Ago
      From Unintended Acceleration to Unintended Head-on collision
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