We all tend to moan from time to time about the electronic nannies putting a damper on our motoring fun. In seriousness, the safety technologies are always most welcome, but when do they begin to get downright scary?
It didn’t take long to get used to, and trust, safety systems such as adaptive cruise control, self-parking, pre-braking (readying the brakes before an impact), automatic braking, lane assist and, going back much further down the automotive history line, ABS and safety belts. But will we be as quick and trusting to put our lives in the hands of a bunch of ones and noughts that drive the car, almost completely? Toyota is on the verge of introducing a step towards such a future, developing technology that takes control of the steering so the car can swerve away from an impact, if it’s unable to stop in time.
We’re not sure what would happen if there were more undetectable obstacles on the sides, such as a rut or a ditch, or a small child. But we’ll leave it to the brains at Toyota to figure that out.
In this new safety system, Toyota is using a host of cameras and sensitive radars at the front of its vehicle. Should it detect something like a pedestrian in front of the car, it yanks control away from the driver and veers away into safety. Trouble is, if the driver wasn’t paying attention in the first place, he may be surprised and alarmed with the sudden loss of control and attempt to yank the car back into line, oblivious to the danger ahead.
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Anyway, the system calculates how to apply the correct amount of braking and steering to avoid an accident, but this safety technology still isn’t ready for the road. Toyota isn’t saying exactly when it will be fitted to your regular Yaris, but only hinted that it will be in production soon. The company also said it aims to contribute to zero fatalities and injuries with its safety technologies.