Approach to Safety Technology & Vehicle Development
In order to ensure the sound future development of a mobile society that relies on automobiles as a means of transportation, it is necessary to minimize their impact on the environment as well as traffic accidents, traffic congestion and other negative aspects. Toyota's basic stance on safety is to pursue dependable safety based on accident analysis. Toyota adopts a comprehensive approach to reducing traffic casualties and is advancing initiatives in the areas of active safety (which seeks to minimize the chances of an accident occurring) and passive safety (which seeks to minimize the damage or injuries sustained in an accident), as well as to educate and raise awareness of drivers, pedestrians and other members of the public regarding traffic safety, and create a safer traffic environment.
Number of Traffic Casualties Worldwide
Integrated Initiatives to Improve Traffic Safety
To develop, verify and promote the widespread use of safety technologies based on investigations and analyses of the various types of accidents that are actually occurring in society, Toyota first analyzes the reasons for accidents and the causes of injuries using research data from studies regarding accidents and their impact on human bodies. Next, Toyota reproduces these accidents using various types of simulations, in order to develop preventive technologies. The developed technologies are then verified in actual vehicle tests. In addition, even after these technologies are commercialized, Toyota continues to investigate and analyze accidents.
From a global perspective, nations with emerging automotive markets such as China and India are seeing an increase in traffic accidents accompanying the development of motorization. There are roughly 1.3 million traffic casualties worldwide, making it the ninth most common cause of death. Particularly in emerging economies, an inability to provide education and the lack of a traffic environment appropriate to the increased number of automobiles appears to be behind the increasing number of accidents.
Achieving the ultimate goal of completely eliminating traffic casualties will require more than just the development of safer vehicles. Education and awareness among drivers and pedestrians as well as traffic environment improvements must also advance in step with vehicle development.
Toyota's efforts to bringing about an affluent mobile society and to completely eliminate traffic casualties involves adopting a comprehensive approach that views people, vehicles and the traffic environment as an integrated whole.
(1) Contribution to an affluent mobile society
Toyota always focuses on people and on striving toward a mobile society without any traffic casualties in which people are able to travel comfortably via vehicles.
(2) Working together with society
As a member of global society, Toyota strives to improve the traffic safety environment. Toyota is safety conscious and wants to cooperate with various groups, such as local and national governments.
(3) Development of safe vehicles
Taking accident analysis data into consideration, Toyota develops technologies for "Active safety" and "Passive safety" to lead the world, and protect and assist consumers.
Alerts the driver through such means as a warning buzzer, and performs braking assistance and automatic braking to reduce the severity of a collision when the vehicle determines that there is a high likelihood of one occurring with a vehicle or other obstacle ahead.
Provides the closest experience to actual driving in order to safely analyze behavior such as sleeping-at-the-wheel and drunk driving when passing through intersections and other situations. Used to estimate the effectiveness of different active safety features.
In vehicle development, Toyota's safety technology can be broadly classified as either active safety or passive safety. Passive safety seeks to reduce the extent of injuries sustained after a collision, while active safety seeks to reduce the likelihood that a crash will even occur at all. The basis for active safety is ensuring driving stability by detecting vehicular conditions that could lead to a collision, and assisting the driver in maneuvering to avoid an accident.
The first active safety technology developed was the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), which was commercialized in 1971. Then in 1987, the Traction Control System (TRC), which keeps the drive wheels from slipping during acceleration, was introduced. In 1995, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), which helps control lateral skid, was launched.
Toyota has also been continually working to further develop technologies to help eliminate factors that could potentially lead to vehicular instability. Examples of such technologies include the Night View system, which helps improve the driver's field of vision during nighttime driving; Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)*1 and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)*2, which help reduce the burden of driving; and the Pre-Crash Safety System (PCS), which detects potential collisions in advance and works to reduce their severity. Toyota will continue to seek greater advances and will use driving simulators and other resources in the development of ever-more innovative active safety technology.
*1. ACC:A system with enhanced recognition capabilities compared to the cruise control system in earlier vehicles. A radar sensor detects vehicles ahead and controls the accelerator and brakes to maintain a safe distance.
*2. LKA:This system employs a camera to recognize the white traffic lane lines and applies electric power steering to assist the driver in keeping the correct driving lane.
Allows predictions about the extent of injuries to different parts of the body to a degree of precision unattainable with crash-test dummies. THUMS is currently being used in safety technology development such as the pedestrian-injury lessening body structure and Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) concept seats.
Offset Collision Tests
The offset collisions performed in the safety Crash Test Laboratory of the Higashifuji Technical Center allow precise collision point and speed testing to be carried out, enabling the testing of a variety of accident types, including high-speed collisions and rollovers.
Toyota's basic thinking on passive safety is to minimize the extent of collision injuries by combining vehicle body structures that securely protect occupants during collisions and absorb the impact with equipment that provides effective protection to occupants. Developing this sort of vehicle body structure and safety equipment requires both actual collision testing and computer simulation technology. In 1966, Toyota established its Safety Evaluation Department, which has now been an integral part of research and development for over 40 years. In that time Toyota's evaluation and measurement technology has made excellent progress, and the feedback it provides is reliably applied to product development. In 2003 a new Crash Test Laboratory was constructed at the Higashifuji Technical Center. At this all-weather facility a variety of collision testing and roll-over testing can be carried out indoors. In 1995, Toyota incorporated offset collision tests — something not common at the time — as part of its development aimed at improving dependable safety performance. The desire to pursue world top-level safety led Toyota to set the Global Outstanding Assessment (GOA) voluntary collision-safety goal and develop a collision-safety body structure. Furthermore, evaluation requirements and methods, such as compatibility performance intended for ensuring safety in the event of a collision between large and small vehicles, pedestrian protection, and whiplash injury reduction capabilities, are added as required in line with the times so that Toyota vehicles are continually improving, enabling them to handle an ever-greater variety of accidents. Also, in order to understand how the human body sustains injuries, TMC and Toyota Central R&D Labs have developed human models known as THUMS (Total Human Model for Safety), which can simulate the effects of collisions and other impacts on the human body to a degree that cannot be measured with a crash-test dummy. These models are useful for anticipating where and how an actual human body would sustain injuries in an accident.
Toyota's vision for the future of vehicle safety is embodied in the "Integrated Safety Management Concept." This concept seeks to integrate a vehicle's onboard safety technologies and systems to achieve an even higher level of safety, and to adopt systems that interact with the infrastructure and use information obtained from other nearby vehicles. The ultimate goal is to create vehicles that do not cause accidents. Development of the Integrated Safety Management Concept involves the categorization of driving situations by the degree of accident risk and support for the driver at every stage of the safety spectrum, from parking to active safety, pre-crash safety, passive safety and emergency response. By more closely integrating these systems in the future, Toyota seeks to reduce the dangers related to driving as it pursues the goal to create "vehicles that do not cause accidents."
Integration of Individual Technologies and Systems
Incidence of Road Fatalities 2009
During 2009, in Japan, 4,914 people died in traffic accidents, including 1,717 pedestrians — a figure exceeding the 1,600 automobile drivers or passengers who died. While passenger safety is an essential subject of study, the search for new methods of protecting pedestrians is just as crucial.
Toyota incorporates structures into the engine hood, fenders, bumpers and elsewhere to absorb impact in the event of a collision with head and legs of a pedestrian. Pre-crash active safety is enhanced by millimeter-wave radar and a newly developed stereo camera, both of which make it easier for the driver to detect pedestrians.
How DSRC Works
Safety technology and equipment are evolving at Toyota, where the latest Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technology is being applied in the development of active safety systems that integrate vehicles and infrastructure. This new development provides direct communication between the road and the vehicle, or between vehicles, to help drivers prevent accidents, and is scheduled for commercialization in cooperation with relevant public agencies and industrial sectors. When DSRC* service began in FY2009, the Lexus LS was equipped for interactive data exchange with the infrastructure to enhance active safety on the freeway. The Lexus LS system is intended to help prevent accidents by alerting the driver of the presence of a stopped vehicle or a traffic jam ahead in the driver's blind spot, or of a vehicle merging into traffic on an expressway.
*DSRC :Dedicated Short Range Communication
How VSC Has Reduced Accidents
One of the accident-avoidance technologies designed to correct for driving errors and help secure a vehicle's stability, VSC* helps drivers stay in control by helping to prevent skidding caused by factors like abrupt steering input and slippery road surfaces. When sensors detect skidding, VSC automatically optimizes the braking force acting upon each of the four wheels and the engine power sent to each driven wheel. For example, when a vehicle turns less than a driver intends (understeer) in a slippery corner, VSC works to reduce the power output and strengthen the braking force at the inside rear wheel. Contrarily, if the car starts to spin beyond the intended path due to sharp steering input (oversteer), more braking force is sent to the outside front wheel to reduce its spinning.
*VSC:Vehicle Stability Control
The pre-crash safety system is an active safety mechanism designed to reduce collision damage. Pre-crash safety features, including the Pre-Crash Brake and Pre-Crash Seatbelt systems, are activated if the system determines that a collision is inevitable. The Driver Monitor Camera, one of the most advanced technologies, detects the direction of the driver's face, and whether the driver's eyes are open, and alerts the driver with an early warning beep if it senses a possible collision. In addition, because of the greater risk posed by a driver taking longer to respond to the physical alert of the Warning Brake feature, the Pre-Crash Brake system automatically reduces the vehicle's speed.
How the Driver Monitor Works
Both upper and lower eyelid positions are detected to calculate each eye's opened and closed states.
Omnidirectional Body-Structure Compatibility
In pursuit of optimization of vehicle body structure, Toyota has developed an impact-absorbing body and reinforced cabin that has evolved in step with a compatibility concept* designed to help mutual safety in collisions between vehicles of different weights and heights. Toyota performs front, side and rear collision tests on the assumption that the striking vehicle is a heavier, two-ton-class vehicle. Toyota pursues the world's best-in-class passive safety performance.
*Compatibility is a concept intended to assure mutual safety by securing the passive safety of lighter vehicles and reducing the harmful impact of heavier ones.
Side and Curtain Shield Airbag (Prius)
Each front SRS airbag activates in the event of a frontal impact, functioning in combination with a seatbelt to protect a front-seat occupant from physical shock to the head or chest. In the event of a side collision, the SRS side airbag absorbs the impact to a passenger's chest from a strong side impact. SRS curtain shield airbags, mounted inside the front pillar, roof side and rear pillar, fully expand to absorb impact of side passengers' heads.