Toyota Prius & Prius PHV get a “foolproof start” feature in Japan
The new feature called Plus Support will be initially available for the Japan-spec Toyota Prius and will prevent the car from ramming into an obstacle when the driver clearly floors the gas pedal by accident. Later on, it will spread over across the range.
The new feature works in conjunction with Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS), a system that uses parking sensors to brake the car upon detecting an obstacle in its path. However, the advantage of the Plus Support is that it cuts off rapid acceleration even when no obstacles are detected. Toyota says it will be useful for rental services and parents whose children still lack the needed driving skills.
To activate the feature, you need to unlock the car using a Plus Support Smart Key; it will not work with the regular key fob. The Plus Support Smart Key comes priced at 13,200 JPY (approx. 123 USD).
Whenever the driver pushes the gas pedal down hard and the system believes there is no reason for it, it blocks acceleration, potentially preventing a collision. This should be especially useful to people confusing the two pedals.
Toyota assures us that the system is smart enough to allow acceleration in all scenarios when the turn blinkers are on (lane changing and overtaking, driving out of the parking area, and turning). It will also not interfere when driving uphill or when the gas pedal is pressed straight after the brake pedal (such as whenever you continue from traffic lights).
Toyota says the feature will be available for the vehicles already released, but will require the installation of a device called Pedal Misapplication Acceleration Control System II. It will set you back 38,500 JPY (358 USD) and be initially available to owners of the 2016 Prius and newer models. Compatibility with the Sai, Crown and Mark X models will be added later.
Editor Andrew Raspopov
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