Toyota rolled out a new safety feature technology in 2020 meant to detect unintentional sudden acceleration. The technology is designed to recognize unintentional pedal depression and slow the car down when it thinks a driver hit the gas accidentally instead of the brake pedal (typically at low speeds).
Toyota’s new technology, called Acceleration Suppression Function integrates with previously released Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS). ICS uses a series of sensors to detect whether there are objects, vehicles, people, or walls in close proximity and uses that data to help it decide when united acceleration should be suppressed. Unlike ICS, the new Acceleration Suppression Function technology works independently to control united acceleration even when there are no obstacles nearby. The safety feature overrides the vehicle’s signal from the gas pedal to send transmission fluid into the transmission’s gears to accelerate, slowing the vehicle instead to prevent a collision.
Interest in the fail-safe’s development was born when researchers uncovered real driving data indicating the significance of accidental pedal application. Researchers and engineers calculated data from real vehicular collisions that occurred when the driver mistakenly pushed the gas pedal instead of the brakes.
According to reports, a sticky gas pedal and design flaw causing the gas pedal to become wedged under the floor mats were to blame for the unintentional sudden acceleration crashes.
In 2007 Toyota made the headlines when reports of crashes caused by defects in new models plagued the automaker. Toyota later recalled over 2 million vehicles to correct the defects that could potentially cause sudden accidental acceleration.
What Can Cause Sudden Acceleration?
More than one issue can cause a vehicle to accelerate suddenly while in drive.
- accidentally stepping on the gas instead of the brake pedal
- a malfunctioning transmission control module (TCM) pushing too much fluid to the transmission
- a bad transmission shift solenoid
- an object obstructing or depressing the pedal
- Sticky gas pedal
Turning Mistakes into Opportunities
Toyota learned from its mistakes in 2007, now leading the automotive industry in the development of safety features to prevent unintentional acceleration and promote driver safety. In a press release from the Toyota News Room on February 3, 2020, the international automaker expressed its commitment to eliminating fatalities and injuries from automotive crashes “through improvements to car safety, via the implementation of this new function.”
1. “Toyota’s New Acceleration Suppression Function Set to Launch in Summer 2020”, Toyota City, Japan, February 3, 2020. Toyota Motor Corporation. Big data from connected cars helps identify abnormal accelerator operation to control acceleration. https://global.toyota/en/newsroom/corporate/31430982.html
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