Toyota Making Car That Can Automatically Steer Away From Pedestrians

A version of the technology won't hit markets until 2015.

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Issei Kato / REUTERS

Toyota Motor Corp's successive models of Prius hybrid cars are displayed as a visitor walks past at the company's showroom in Tokyo April 17, 2013.

Toyota Motor Corp.  is touting a sensory mechanism that will allow cars to gauge the likelihood of a collision and steer itself away from pedestrians, reports The Wall Street Journal. Aimed at reducing pedestrian fatalities in high-traffic cities like Tokyo, the Japanese company’s Pre-collision System (PCS) will alert drivers both audibly and visually while activating the brakes. If the car detects that a collision is inevitable, the car will steer itself away from the pedestrian.

Before unleashing the steer-assistance feature onto the market, Toyota says that by 2015 it will incorporate a less expensive design into the current pedestrian-avoidance feature available on many of its models. But let’s hope effectiveness isn’t sacrificed for a lower sticker price: While Toyota slashed $2,000 off of its Prius V, the 2013 hybrid’s anti-collision, auto-braking system received a failing grade by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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Not only did the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety give the Prius V’s crash-avoidance system a failing grade, consumers in California have filed a class action lawsuit against Toyota because they paid for something they didn’t receive – a safer vehicle.Consumer fraud lawsuits are one way of demanding that manufacturers live up to their marketing hype.