Pedal misapplication occurs when you hit the wrong pedal, often the accelerator, which can cause occasionally fatal accidents. Many cars have features to slow down such cars, but that technology is often based on nearby obstacles.
Toyota has developed an Acceleration Suppression Function to support its obstacle-based Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) that can tell when you accelerate abnormally. The function can determine whether the sudden, rapid acceleration is due to regular driving maneuvers like making a right turn, but will slow down the vehicle if the acceleration seems to be an error.
How does it work? — According to 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, drivers under 25 and over 65 are four times as likely to be involved in pedal misapplication crashes. Toyota used data from connected cars to figure out the difference between the various speeds of parking and when you’ve accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes. Without needing any obstacle data, the updated ICS will slow down the vehicle to help avoid accidents. If there are buildings, people, or other vehicles around, existing safety infrastructure will stop the car.
The new functionality will roll out in Japan this summer and be retrofitted to older vehicles. Toyota also plans to share the technology with other automakers (hopefully, Tesla is on the shortlist) to improve road safety across the world.