Filed under: Sedan , CES , Japan , Safety , Technology , Videos , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury While Google and Audi explore the possibilities of autonomous vehicles, Toyota and its Lexus division are studying the intermediate step of vehicles equipped with a deep suite of technology that help drivers make the best decisions. Introduced at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Lexus advanced safety research vehicle is an LS sedan fitted with three high-def color cameras to detect objects up to almost 500 feet away, 360-degree Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) lasers that can detect objects up to 220 feet away, three radar units to keep track of other vehicles at intersections, a precision odometer on the rear wheel, GPS that estimates orientation and an accelerometer. Currently testing at a purpose-built 8.6 acre urban testing ground at the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Susono, Japan the Toyota research vehicle is being used to study how to make better drivers, as well as figuring out how to reduce crashes as the industry’s journey through passive and active safety systems progresses. In the event of a crash, new rescue systems are also being tested. Further investment is being put into the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) that would use shortwave signals to harness information from the car and from other vehicles on the road, as well as roadside infrastructure and even pedestrians. Toyota reasons it could then build a picture of interactions and, for instance, alert the driver to a potential collision at a blind intersection. Toyota’s says its research “could lead to a fully autonomous car in the future,” but for now, the point is that “a driverless car is just a part of the story. Our vision is a car equipped with an intelligent, always-attentive co-pilot whose skills contribute to safer driving.” Improving driver education in this country would probably be a lot cheaper, but hey, we’re for anything that helps make the roads safer places to be. There’s plenty more tech-speak in the video and press release below . Continue reading Toyota and Lexus show off advanced safety research vehicle [w/video] Toyota and Lexus show off advanced safety research vehicle [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Jan 2013 18:00:00 EST.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota , Earnings/Financials The Toyota settlement recently submitted to US District Judge James Selna for approval will cost the company anywhere from $1 billion to $1.4 billion. All to settle the class-action suit brought against it for economic losses stemming from claims of unintended acceleration . This suit only addresses the perceived loss-of-value that Toyota owners and lessees feel they have suffered, alleging their cars were the victims of unintended depreciation even if they did not directly suffer from the alleged cases of unintended/sudden acceleration. This is a separate case than the wrongful death suits brought about by the unintended acceleration brouhaha. When the settlement was announced, this was the overview of its payouts: Toyota will install brake override systems in all 3.25 million vehicles subjected to the floor mat entrapment recall . Another fund of $250 million will compensate current owners whose vehicles are not eligible for the free brake override system. A fund of $250 million will compensate former Toyota owners who sold their cars from September 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010 for lost value. Education grants valued at $30 million will be made to independent academic institutions to further study auto safety and enhance driver education. All 16 million current Toyota owners will be eligible for a customer care plan that warrants certain parts allegedly related to unintended acceleration for three to 10 years. Car and Driver attempts to break down where all that largesse is going, and who’s going to get large off of it.
TORRANCE, Calif., (Dec. 5, 2012) – The Scion FR-S earned recognition today from Car and Driver, the world's largest automotive publication, as part of its “10Best” cars of 2013 . The magazine highlights the best cars for under $80,000 available on showroom floors in January 2013. Scion introduced the FR-S earlier this year to positive industry reviews and consumer excitement. The FR-S shares its spot on the list with the Subaru BRZ.
Filed under: Sedan , Safety , Technology , Toyota , Luxury Automotive News Europe reports that Toyota is set to debut a pair of pre-crash safety systems. The company hopes the tech will help reduce the likelihood of high-speed crashes and accidents caused by pedal misapplication . One of the systems uses millimeter-wave radar to calculate the risk of a collision. Like the Volvo City Safety technology, when the vehicle senses an impending crash, it alerts the driver with both audio and visual cues. A new brake booster can then be activated to help deliver twice the braking force typically available. Toyota also hopes to prevent parking collisions with an additional automatic braking system. Using sonar, the vehicle can detect whether the car is approaching a stationary obstacle too quickly and apply the brakes as necessary. It also features a fail-safe that will automatically slow the vehicle if the driver shifts gears while the accelerator is applied or “abnormal shifting” is detected. Word has it the manufacturer will debut the tech on a “high-end Toyota-brand sedan,” but specifics beyond that are not known. Toyota developing new pre-crash braking aids originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 25 Nov 2012 13:34:00 EST.
Filed under: Safety , Technology , Toyota In recent years, Toyota vehicles have been involved in a number high-profile accidents blamed on ” unintended acceleration .” And whether the root cause of these incidents boils down to driver error or faulty mechanicals, Toyota is working to address the issue. One of two new systems in development at Toyota goes by the name of Intelligent Clearance Sonar. The technology is meant to reduce parking lot collisions by detecting objects out of the driver’s sight. If an imminent collision is detected, the ICS system will automatically hit the brakes, reduce engine power and sound an alarm. Toyota’s other new safety system is Drive-Start Control. According to the automaker, if the system senses that the wrong gear has been selected from Park while the driver is pressing on the accelerator, a warning is flashed on the dashboard and engine output is reduced “to limit a sudden start or acceleration.” There are a number of scenarios where the system might kick in – for example, if a driver bumps into something while reversing, panics and shifts into a forward gear without letting up on the accelerator, DSC would take over. While such research is commendable, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called for making such systems mandatory in coming years. And more and more automakers are investigating and/or committing to developing electronic failsafes to deal with unintended acceleration. Last month, Nissan announced a camera-based system designed to curb pedal misapplication. Toyota says the systems will be available on future vehicles soon, a development that could give it a leg up on the competition if/when new federal rules are approved.
Toyota and Discovery Education Challenge Teachers and Students to Help Teens Stay Safe Behind the Wheel
Silver Spring, Md.
Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall of Certain Vehicles For The Driver’s Side Power Window Master Switch
TORRANCE, Calif., Oct. 10, 2012 – Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), today announced that it will conduct a safety recall involving approximately 2.5 million vehicles to inspect and apply special fluorine grease to the driver’s side Power Window Master Switch (PWMS).
Filed under: Coupe , Performance , Scion , Subaru , Toyota The Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S have been struck by a minor gremlin, but the repair is turning into an episode that ends with “Stay Tuned” rather than a definite conclusion. Automotive News reports that a software mapping hiccup can cause the adaptive engine ECU to get out of whack with the engine, which can, in turn, cause rough idling and stalling. Toyota said the issue does “involve the variable valve timing,” but both Subaru and Toyota say the issue is entirely about the software, that the ECU can develop a “handshake issue” with the engine after having an unfavorable ” reaction to normal mechanical variations ” in a small number of cases. The two automakers diverge on the remedy, however. After 100 miles of learning the powertrain and the driver’s driving style, AN reports that the ECU’s mapping is pretty much baked in. If engine operation exceeds the established parameters, at low revs the engine succumbs to uneven idling and stalling as the ECU tries to recalibrate to a new range of tolerances . Toyota has said that if the issue is suffered by a car with less than 100 miles, the ECU should be reflashed, but that cars with more than 100 miles should have their ECUs replaced. Subaru, though, has said that the ECU doesn’t need to be replaced no matter the mileage – a reflash is all that’s required. It appears that some owners who have had the reflash have suffered the problem again. We don’t have any hard numbers on how many of the coupes are afflicted and how many have been fixed, so it’s impossible to know how big or little the issue is.