By on February 3, 2020

toyota

A rising number of elderly drivers — and pedal misapplication crashes — in its home market has compelled Toyota to engineer a solution.

The automaker announced Monday that a new “acceleration suppression function” combining data collected from real-word driving and its existing Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver-assist features will determine, and intervene, when a driver hits the wrong pedal.

While it’s not the first time Toyota has attempted to reduce damage and injuries stemming from pedal misapplication, it’s by for the most comprehensive. In 2012, the automaker introduced Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS), though that system only worked when the car’s sensors detected objects nearby — like garage walls, for example.

The new system works without objects nearby, Toyota claims.

After analyzing crashes in which the accelerator pedal was (accidentally) depressed fully, the automaker then delved into data collected from connected cars. “By eliminating instances where it was determined that drivers were genuinely required to rapidly accelerate intentionally, such as when turning right or accelerating from a temporary stop, Toyota was able to identify and compute instances in which the accelerator was operated abnormally,” the automaker stated.

“In turn, this allowed for a function setting to control acceleration even in the absence of obstacles.”

Toyota plans to share details of the system with other automakers. While the company plans to add the feature as an option this year, it can be retrofitted into older vehicles outfitted with the necessary driver-assist functions. The Japanese home market comes first, though Automotive News reports that other global markets will follow.

In Japan, incidents of unintended acceleration caused by pedal misapplication are on the rise. The number of drivers aged 75 or older killed behind the wheel rose from 381 in 2007 to 791 last year, Toyota claims. Pedal misapplication is suspected in the majority of those crashes.

[Image: Toyota]

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57 Comments on “Curb Your Acceleration: Aging Drivers Spur Toyota Into Action...”


  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    Hatred of technical nannies aside, this is a good thing and once the tech is proven it should be on every car.

    This was an issue frequently in the news when I was in Japan as there was a spate of fatal incident involving older drivers – including one in which the guy’s kids had already taken his license and ordered him not to drive.

    But it’s not limited to Japan. When I was in Buffalo, there was a family destroyed at a hamburger joint my family and I frequented when a little old lady stepped on the wrong pedal, jumped a fairly high curb, smashed through a wall. Both parents dead and a 13 year old kid injured and orphaned. Absolutely unacceptable if we can stop this. https://www.amherstbee.com/articles/could-fatal-crash-have-been-prevented/

    The only other solution would be bollards or giant stone planters in front of every building.

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    Hatred of technical nannies aside, this is a good thing and once the tech is proven it should be on every car.

    This was an issue frequently in the news when I was in Japan as there was a spate of fatal incident involving older drivers – including one in which the guy’s kids had already taken his license and ordered him not to drive.

    But it’s not limited to Japan. When I was in Buffalo, there was a family destroyed at a hamburger joint my family and I frequented when a 74 year old lady stepped on the wrong pedal, jumped a fairly high curb, smashed through a wall. Both parents dead and a 13 year old kid injured and orphaned. Absolutely unacceptable if we can stop this. (Google the 2011 Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger crash if you want specifics.)

    The only other solution would be bollards or giant stone planters in front of every building

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    Hatred of technical nannies aside, this is a good thing and once the tech is proven it should be on every car.

    This was an issue frequently in the news when I was in Japan as there was a spate of fatal incident involving older drivers – including one in which the guy’s kids had already taken his license and ordered him not to drive.

    But it’s not limited to Japan. When I was in Buffalo, there was a family destroyed at a hamburger joint my family and I frequented when a 74 year old lady stepped on the wrong pedal, jumped a fairly high curb, smashed through a wall. Both parents dead and a 13 year old kid injured and orphaned. Absolutely unacceptable if we can stop this. (Google the 2011 Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger crash if you want specifics.)

    The only other solution would be bollards or giant stone planters in front of every building

    • 0 avatar
      ScarecrowRepair

      Seems we also need technological nannies to detect unintentioned multiple posting.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        You can say that again.

        You can say that again.

        :D

      • 0 avatar
        Thomas Kreutzer

        Who says it was unintentional? Maybe I’m just very passionate about this issue.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Moderator, block this guy. His blog should be “truth about diaper cross-dressing”

          • 0 avatar

            Akismet has a filter against multiple postings. This guy is a genius he was able somehow to hack it.

          • 0 avatar
            conundrum

            @slavuta

            Well, as a past respected author on TTAC, I respect Kreutzer greatly. He’s a great writer. Your dour and grim posts, on the other hand, are pretty useless in my opinion, so I’d personally put a filter on your meandering thoughts way before his.

            Just saying — what you believe is not what everyone else thinks, nor should they be bludgeoned into agreeing with you. Open you horizons, get a life and show some humor. Jeez. Moderate Kreutzer? You’re delusional, mate.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            “so I’d personally put a filter on your meandering thoughts way before his.”

            so – do it!

            “Open you horizons, get a life and show some humor.”

            And you have guts to say this?

            “Moderate Kreutzer?”

            no. Ban altogether.

          • 0 avatar
            Thomas Kreutzer

            Obviously I was having a little trouble with the autmoderator yesterday. Since TTAC admin are usually slow to approve posts that get kicked out, I tried to fix that by deleting the link I added and was surprised when the automoderator locked that up as well. I tried to submit it again and then gave up in disgust when it was obvious that it just wasn’t going to happen. Then, TTAC’s admins approved every post -including the one I sent a delete request on – which makes me look like an ass.

            Great.

            Now I get these comments which, I thought at first, were just jokes but they just keep going and going and going and so I sense some real venom there. Venom for what?

            So, between TTAC’s admins purposefully making me look like a douche and you, slavuta, making a douche of yourself, I have to ask myself why I even bother anymore.

            I appreciate conundrums’ defense, but I think I’m just done.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Thomas don’t sweat it. Many of us have had issues with signing in, multiple posts, moderating and the maddening editing function on this site.

            And I doubt very much that I am the only one who enjoys your posts.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Obviously I was having a little trouble with the autmoderator yesterday.”

            I’m pretty sure most of us* understand given all of the glitches and brokenness over the past week.

            *at least, those of us not from some Eastern European hinterland

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Kreutzer,

      you have a soft skin. This is usually normal for people who call for nannies. Hey, should we reinforce every building with steel brace so they don’t collapse? Put a device on every gun so it can detects when person puts it against forehead?
      And BTW, I wasn’t the one who posted same comment 3 times. And I am always clear that you can’t be a free man living in a nanny state. And you can’t be a car enthusiast promoting nannies.

      In fact, my comments were half serious (don’t like when people promote nannies) and half joke (ban you because of making such comments). And your buddy conun had “…guts to say this?” (get sense of humor).

      And note: I am not apologetic.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Uh, oh ~ this doesn’t look good .

    How soon before someone else can control or halt acceleration remotely ? .

    They’ll pitch it as a safety feature or that the cops can halt drunk drivers or stolen cars but I don’t like the sound of this one bit .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      I’ve got start/stop technology on my 2020 Equinox already, it won’t be long before On Star can control your every move, no?

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        It amuses me how the people who seem the most afraid of “government surveillance” are the least interesting people in existence, of a sort no government would waste time tracking. Look, if the government has its eye on you, you very likely already know why.

        or is this world really full of paranoiacs living in Faraday cages a la Gene Hackman in “Enemy of the State?”

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Thanks to Onstar, they can already shut down cars remotely.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s why we love Big Government a.k.a Big Bro.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Just find the receiver and wrap it into aluminum foil. It is not called “foil” for nothing

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          @JimZ :

          You’re not kidding ! .

          An old once chum of mine snorted wayyy too much cocaine in the 1980’s and now lives with his mommy and thinks the gub’mint puts trackers on his junker S10 pickup, maybe they want to see what bar he goes too….

          His wild tales of being followed are incredible .

          I ask him who the hell cares about his worthless ass and he changes the subject .

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            no doubt. I bet a lot of people who are afraid of “gubmint surveillance” use the same password for Facebook and all of their bank accounts.

            Kind of like people who refuse to fly because they’re afraid the plane crashing yet have no problem driving 30-40,000 miles every year. Which one is far more likely to kill you?

            the *illusion* of control makes people feel safer, even when they’re not.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Sadly, William (‘Billy-Bob’) has little control over anything and is now 60 Y.O., his mother won’t be with us much longer and I assume he’ll wind up living in the back of his truck and blame it all on the ” !LIB’RALS!” .

            Too bad as we had some fun times in the mid 1970’s .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Does this technology also scold the driver or admonish him/her for being a danger to others, for their selfishness and their stubbornness? Maybe not for the first offense, but if your cognitive functions are so bad that you’re repeatedly confusing your go pedal with your stop pedal……..

    I’d also like to see similar technology applied to unintended *deceleration* in the left lane ;)

  • avatar
    redgolf

    There were 2 incidences in my town that I’m aware of where both elderly women crashed into buildings while arriving to park out front, one was at my local McD’s, she had jumped the curb smashing through the glass wall ( no injuries) the other was at a local liquor store, whether she may have already had one too many and was going out for more, she had made a new entrance and much wider also!I hope when I can no longer drive (which will be never, hummmph) they will have a fully autonomous program in place, now get the he___ off my lawn!

  • avatar
    Old_WRX

    So, in reality, with this we would never quite know for sure whether the gas pedal was really going to work when when needed. If this works as well as some of these websites that try to tell me what I want to buy/watch/read based on my history, then I dread this.

    I would think that rethinking the basic control arrangement for those who need it would be a better way. (I suppose I’ll be there sooner than I’d like to admit. And, I guarantee I won’t have the common sense to stop driving:) ) I mean change to something other than two pedals right next to each other.

    But, please, don’t fix what ain’t broke for those of us who don’t need it (yet).

  • avatar
    Fred

    The older I get the more I appreciate the nannies.

  • avatar
    Dan

    A not terribly old woman drove her Acura TL into the treadmill area of my gym in 2013. I remember the year because it happened just a few weeks after the cultural enrichment at the Boston marathon and the obvious caption was that running isn’t as healthy as we’d been led to believe.

    Anyhow this is a no brainer. The technology not only exists but is largely in the cars already. The senile drivers are definitely already there. Just make sure there’s an off switch that stays off for emergency maneuvers.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      And what if I want to drive over something? Because… often, I do

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Children and dogs BEWARE

        • 0 avatar

          Squirrels are the most vulnerable. When I see squirrel I slow down because their behavior is unpredictable.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            I found this – if you see a squirrel, just honk. If will run like crazy straight into the bushes. Road clear – go. No need to slow down. Works every time. Deer… no so much. they often just look at you like you’re the crazy one

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Yep… deer are pretty dumb. A deer ran into the side of my car when I was the only car on a dark road. I seriously doubt it got chased there by an apex predator; it ran out there simply because it’s a dumb deer.

            Rabbits are the opposite. They instinctively think everyone is trying to catch them and eat them. If a rabbit happens to run across your path, it probably didn’t see you coming before it did that, and when it does spot you (and it will, with one if its eyes that nature built into the side of its head), it’ll try to deke you out by reversing course with amazing agility and speed at the precise moment that you swerve to miss it by passing behind its original path. Bang! Smeared bunny all over the road. You’re better off trying to swerve into it while slowing down. The bunny will be better off too.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Yay, now the throttle response can be even worse in modern cars.

    I absolutely do not want that in any car that I purchase, and this tech is dangerous. If you cannot reliably press the right pedal, I would rather you crash at a relatively low speed than make it onto a freeway where your lack of skills can cause a catastrophic accident.

  • avatar
    TR4

    My Dad’s 1970 VW bus had an “acceleration suppression function”
    which worked very well.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Classic Top Gear solved this problem when Clarkson and Hammond built their car for the elderly.

    They placed a rubber squeaky ball under the gas pedal. Whenever you press on the gas pedal it makes its loud squeaking noise. So you can hear if you are pressing on the accelerator or brake.

    Of course driver testing for both new and older drivers should be much more intense.

    Too many ‘new’ drivers, including those from other nations who are ‘bad’ drivers. And as for testing the elderly, my mother passed her driving test/renewed her license the very same month that the medical profession, quite correctly declared her to no longer be mentally ‘competent’.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    “They placed a rubber squeaky ball under the gas pedal. Whenever you press on the gas pedal it makes its loud squeaking noise. So you can hear if you are pressing on the accelerator or brake.” ^ Oh yeah! I can just see the write up on this ” Senior citizen accidentally presses on gas pedal instead of the brake and lunges over the road barrier into the river, he was rescued with minor injuries, claimed he was listening to the song “If I were a rich man” on the cars cassette and didn’t hear the squeaky noise!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’d like to die in my sleep like grandpa, not screaming in terror like the passengers in his Buick .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Old_WRX

    I doubt any of the unintended acceleration has been in cars w/ mt. So, just require that all cars have manuals.

    I know… too low tech :)

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Ban automatic transmissions and make it harder for old people to renew their license.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Mwuahahahahaha!!

      If we could post memes on here, I’d post the Sam Kinison to Rodney Dangerfield, “I like the way you think.”

      It wouldn’t just affect old people renewing their licenses, it would affect young people trying to get their initial license and it would affect 90% of the people in the middle. The left lane would get a whole lot less crowded!

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