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Pre-collision systems (PCS) help in avoiding possible crash with an outside object by alarming the driver in advance or by itself taking control of the car. Toyota's new PCS uses millimeter-wave radar, cameras and infra-red detection to determine the relative position of the pedestrians and other vehicles on the road.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more number of people of the world die in road accidents than by malaria. Even in a technologically advanced country like the U.S, about 13.9 road death per 100,000 of the population was reported. Considering the number of casualties that take place because of road accidents, most of the car manufacturers have realized the need for an effective pre-collision system and they are developing this technology.
Anyone, who has watched the movie Knight Rider, must have been amazed by the depiction of a technology that enabled the car in the movie to automatically control the steering. Toyota's new PCS has been designed to change a bit of that fiction into reality. This technology will take control of the steering in case the driver doesn't response to the alarm, to avoid the crash. The Lane Departure Prevention system will enable it to change the direction of the car. Also, a new emergency response technology will enables this PCS to monitor consciousness level of the driver. That means, if the driver has lost his consciousness, the system will automatically apply the brake or change the direction of the car.
While the earlier PCS by Toyota was mainly aimed at predicting possible collisions, the new system aims at automatically avoiding the collisions. It has been designed primarily to reduce the number of death of pedestrians. It uses a technology that will reduce the impact of collision and injury to the pedestrians.. Also, it will allow the system a better vision in case of heavy oncoming traffic.
How it works?
It uses various equipment like stereo-camera, millimeter-wave radar and infra-red detection to avoid crash or to predict the collision well in advance. The millimeter-wave radar continuously emit radar waves which come back after colliding with an outside object. The timing of the return of the radar waves is calculated by computerized sensors attached with the system. This helps in the system to find out the position, speed and direction of another car or person with respect to the car. Whereas, the stereo-camera provides images of outside objects to the computerized sensors and infra-red detection helps in detecting the pedestrians and other vehicles when there is not much light on the road, specially during night hours.
Since Toyota has just recently announced this technology, its impact could be ascertained only after it has been tested on road and in accordance with customer satisfaction reports. As, no technology is ever fool proof and certainty can never be guaranteed unless the driver of the car is himself not alert. However, it has the potential to kickstart a new phase in the development of other crash-avoiding technologies.