Surprise! 2007 Toyota Hilux Fails the Moose Test
You may remember Sweden's infamous Älgtest (a.k.a. moose or Elk test). A [s]kamikaze[/s] professional driver guides a fully-laden vehicle (simulated passengers, genuine cargo) down a closed course at 35.5mph. He/she then swerves to avoid an object, then swerves back; simulating the manoeuvres needed to to miss both an errant moose and oncoming traffic. Back in '97, pictures of Mercedes' newly-launched A-Class flipping over during moose testing led the German automaker to retrofit every single car sold with a new Electronic Stability Program module. And now those crazy bastards at Teknikens Värld have put the Toyota Hilux through the same test — with similar results. (TTAC's American readers may remember the Hilux as the previous generation Toyota Tacoma pickup.) The video in the link brings back memories of the 1988 Consumer Reports exposé on the Suzuki "Somersault" Samurai. Anyway, hands-up anyone who thinks Toyota is going to retrofit ESP on old Hilux pickups? Yeah I thought so.
I don't think ESP/DSC/ESC/eNannies are necessarily a bad thing.
That video of the Toyota maneuvering through the cones is the closest I've ever seen to a vehicle high-siding (to use a motorcycle term): they very nearly have three wheels off the ground! If the eNanny keeps the cab from being crushed in a roll-over, how is that a bad thing? Should we take more responsibility for our driving (and actions in general)?
Of course. But I hardly see how a helping hand like this is the end of motoring as we know it. Has anyone seen the Mercedes demo (at the MB museum in Stuttgart) of their monster-huge touring bus going through an obstacle course like this one? It's a thing of beauty and nearly defies the laws of physics. A bus driver performing an emergency avoidance maneuver now has a much higher likelihood of not killing a hundred innocent passengers.
The thing about the unexpected is that you never know when it's coming. I don't think that cars should be designed with autopilots that alleviate their drivers from having to think or use common sense (er, what's that?), but I think that a (defeatable) eNanny designed to keep the wheels on the ground is a good thing.
I have some great Moose pics from a Police Cruiser that hit one in Ontario from the 80's. The entire top of the car was completely sheared right off. The car was on a flatbed being towed out of Algonquin Park at the time, and we got to talk to the officer involved. He came over a hill with the sun in his face, hit a turn, and right there, MOOSE, and had no time to do anything, just duck. The cruiser became a convertible in a couple of seconds. The Police and Rangers up there have a lot of stories about Moose hits, and how Trucks are told never to honk at them. They will apparently take a transport honking at them as a challenge sometimes and charge instead of run.
Wow, Wulv, thanks for the tip about NOT honking at a Moose. I'll be travelling through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and on west, then up to Lake Louise and Banff next July. That would kind of screw up my vacation to be stopped on a road with a big Moose standing in the way, honking (to say "move it you big lummox!") and having mr moose think that means "you wanna fight?! c'mere!" I think for sure that either of my cars would "lose" that fight, somehow. Locally, we have the biggest herd of Buffalo east of the Mississippi (in Traverse City Michigan) and one day last year, six got through a fence and were wandering around on a road - some lady had a Ford Escort, came over a hill, round a bend and WHAM suddenly, she had a bull Buffalo on the hood of her Ford. All four tires blew out, the hood was crushed down onto the engine, etc. and mr Buffalo just got up and limped off. Imagine trying to explain that one to your insurance adjuster.... (to finish the story, all six of the Buffalo had to finally be shot since they are NOT cows and would not go back into their fenced area).
In Australia, if you live out in the country, you need a roo-bar in your vehicle if you hope to have it survive. It is not if, but when, you will hit a kangaroo. Roos are about the same size and weigh as deer in the US. Why not use them in parts of Canada and US where there are plenty of deer? I don't think a car roo-bar will help much in a moose-vs-car collision. However, the large trucks (lorries) in Oz have massive heavy steel roo-bars that can plow through any critter they hit. In Queensland, the Red Kangaroos are huge, 6-feet tall. So these cross-country truckers have to survive hitting a couple of these beast a trip.