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Toyota safety kit will fix driver error

Toyota safety kit will fix driver error

Toyota has hit back at safety concerns with an announcement highlighting technology that will correct driver mistakes in its cars.

According to Toyota: "A large number of collisions are caused by drivers hitting the wrong pedal or selecting the wrong gear, particularly when parking."

It also announced it would help to correct this driver error with a sonar system that can detect objects and apply the brakes and an acceleration limiter if the incorrect gear is selected.

The former, known as Intelligent Clearance Sonar, is similar to the likes of Volvo's automatic braking technology, while the latter has been branded Drive-Start Control by Toyota.

It will recognise if the wrong gear has been selected and flash a warning, reduce the engine output and limit acceleration to avoid unintended acceleration.

The two new systems will be released in future Toyota models and it is not difficult to see why the technology has been created.

After recalling 2.7 million cars worldwide because of steering wheel problems, and just three years after a 12-million vehicle recall in 2009, Toyota has announced the new safety systems.

The infamous 2009 recall, which saw allegations of 'unintended acceleration' in Toyota models, led to CEO Akio Toyoda declaring he 'was deeply sorry' for any accidents and describing the Japanese company as having 'grown too quick'.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US, which analysed Toyota cars that had reportedly crashed because of unintended acceleration, showed, in many of the cars looked at, brakes were never actually applied by drivers and had instead been pressing the accelerator.

There were a handful of incidents where floor mats were impeding the accelerator pedal and Toyota did recall a problem with 'sticky pedals' - those that had rusted and did not return to their original position once depressed.

However, results show the majority of incidents were due to driver error and Toyota is keen to avoid any further controversy with its next-generation systems.

To do this it has opened a new proving ground to test its safety technology at Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre in Japan.

Written by Stephen Hurrell