Toyota launches Collaborative Safety Research Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan
09 January 2011
Toyota is launching a new, advanced safety research center that will collaborate with leading North American universities, hospitals, research institutions, federal agencies and other organizations on projects aimed at reducing the number of traffic fatalities and injuries on America’s roads.
Toyota’s new Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) will be based at the Toyota Technical Center (TTC) in Ann Arbor, Michigan and will involve Toyota researchers and engineers from North America and Japan. The company estimates that it will commit approximately $50 million over the next five years to fund CSRC.
The collaborative research will pursue integrated ways to enhance safety, involving the vehicle, driver and traffic environment. Initial areas of focus will include reducing the risk of driver distraction and helping to protect the most vulnerable traffic populations, including children, teens and seniors. These populations account for approximately 30% of US traffic fatalities.
In September 2010, the US Department of Transportation released updated 2009 fatality and injury data showing that highway deaths fell to 33,808 for the year, the lowest number since 1950. The record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities occurred even while estimated vehicle miles traveled in 2009 increased by 0.2% over 2008 levels.
In addition, 2009 saw the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded: 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2009, compared to 1.26 deaths for 2008.
CSRC will also conduct in-depth analyses of available accident and human behavior data to support stakeholders’ efforts to evaluate and speed deployment of active safety systems.
The University of Michigan, Virginia Tech and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute will be charter partners in the new Collaborative Safety Research Center.
Toyota is supporting the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) on a multidisciplinary project to assess the potential benefits of advanced safety systems in a systematic way, combining their expertise in driver behavior, crash data analysis and driver modeling.
Toyota’s collaboration with Virginia Tech involves research into the effectiveness of an electronic coaching and monitoring system for newly licensed teenage drivers to help reduce unsafe driving behaviors. Toyota will have an active role in guiding this “Driver Coach” project alongside partners including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health.
Toyota will join The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute in a pilot study to create America’s first publicly available national crash surveillance system focused on child vehicle occupants. Such a system will be used to monitor trends in child passenger safety, assess the performance of new safety technologies for children and serve as a national resource to assist researchers, industry and policy-makers to set the agenda for child passenger safety in the US.
Toyota says it will also reach out broadly to other universities, hospitals and research institutions in North America to invite proposals for research into advanced automotive safety.
Toyota Technical Center (TTC), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, North America, is the Research and Development arm of Toyota in North America. TTC is responsible for engineering design, vehicle development, safety and performance evaluation, regulatory affairs and advanced technical research in North America for Toyota and Lexus vehicles assembled or sold in the US. TTC has helped develop the Avalon, Camry, Sienna, Solara, Tundra and Venza vehicles for the North American market.
With almost 50,000 fatalities on USA roads every year and 5 to 6 times the number of serious injuries, this is an excellent project. May be new BEVs could be made of resilient re-enforced plastics to better protect driver and passengers during collisions and drivers lack of awareness.
Since over 82% of the collisions are related to drivers negligence, an on-going driver training and testing program could be part of the solution.
Posted by: HarveyD | 09 January 2011 at 10:40 AM