Toyota has announced that it has developed an Acceleration Suppression Function that uses data from connected cars to identify “abnormal operation” of the accelerator. Toyota says that it will install the new function in new cars and will have a retrofit accelerator control system to include the function for use with certain existing cars starting this summer in Japan. The automakers say that the development was part of its effort to deter serious accidents and reduce damage due to the misapplication of the throttle.
The new system is an extension of the Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) system that the automaker developed in 2012. That early system was reliant on sensors to detect obstacles like other cars or walls. The new function aims at controlling acceleration during abnormal operation even when no obstacles are present.
To develop the system, Toyota looked at accidents where the cause was determined to be pedal misapplication. They looked particularly at accidents where the accelerator was pressed fully. The characteristics of those accidents were compared to big data collected from connected cars. Toyota eliminated the instances where it was determined that drivers were required to accelerate rapidly.
Using that data, it was able to identify and compute instances where the accelerator was operated abnormally. It could then set a function to control acceleration even in the absence of obstacles. By combining ICS with the Acceleration Suppression Function, Toyota thinks it can reduce the number of accidents caused by pedal misapplication in parking lots and other areas.
Toyota notes that it plans to share the operational logic of this function extensively, including with other automakers. The automaker is working towards a reduction of traffic fatalities and says that it is using a three-pillar approach that includes new car safety improvements, educational initiatives, and improvements to road traffic.