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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Toyota Technology Would Steer Vehicle In Emergency

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Something new from the car company that has brought us millions of recalled vehicles over the past couple years: a device that will take control of the steering wheel if the vehicle detects a potential accident. This system, which may be offered soon, utilizes front and rear cameras and millimeter-wave radar system to detect imminent threats and then apply corrective action, including taking control of the steering wheel.

While I am all for safety improvement, in light of the recent sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) problem, this seems like a bad idea. I praise Toyota for striving to achieve a zero rate of fatalities and injuries, but I hope they are not “jumping the gun” with this new system by putting out another electronically controlled system that could create problems more dangerous than the ones they are attempting to avoid. I’d like to see more rigorous testing from the company that counted it as a "win" in pocketing $100 million in delaying a safety recall. Toyota has also acknowledged a number of internal flaws that led to safety problems.

I am 100% in favor of advanced technologies in vehicles to improve safety, including the Smart Brake system that will override an SUA event, but I believe it is important fully understand how these advanced technologies will interact within the vehicle system and to have safeguards in place in case the system doesn’t work as intended.

I don’t every want to hear a car say, "I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently… Stop Dave, I’m afraid."


I am hopeful that when this new system reaches the market, all of the bugs are worked out and it helps Toyota achieve its zero fatality and injury goal.

[More on Toyota]

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison