Prius gets humming device to warn pedestrians

The Toyota Prius has been the best selling car in Japan for the past 16 months, thanks to incentives from Japanese government to boost the sales of environment friendly cars.  Toyota has sold about 340,000 3rd generation Prius cars in Japan.  It has sold more than 2.7 million hybrid cars worldwide so far, and almost half of them in Japan.  There were complaints particularly from the blind and aging population in Japan that they can not hear the hybrid car approaching as it is too quiet.  So finally Toyota Prius hybrid car is going to become a little noisy with a novel electronic gadget that will produce a whirring sound to warn the pedestrians.

toyota prius japan

This new device for Toyota Prius is based on suggestions regarding the dangers of silent electric and hybrid automobiles prepared by the Government of Japan in January this year.  The new Prius cars will have a speaker system installed beneath its hood which will produce a humming sound which has almost the same decibel level that of a normal car engine.  This new system will cost about 12,600 yen (US$ 145), and will go on sale in Japan from August 30.

It is up to the Prius car owner to install this system as its use is voluntary.  Owners will have to pay extra installation charges.  The noise making gadget’s humming is not so jarring and it is barely audible in noisy city traffic, but can be of a great help in quieter places.  The humming gadget can be switched off by the driver but it would switch on automatically every time the car is started.

Toyota has not yet decided about introducing this passenger warning system for their Prius models in other countries, but the Japanese car maker is going through regulations of different countries including the United States as it is considering to market the device in these countries too.  Toyota, the Japanese car maker which also manufacturers the Lexus luxury and Camry sedan models, has plans to release the noise making gadget for other plug-ins, hybrid models, electric vehicles, and vehicles powered by fuel cells.

A research carried out by the United States government last year revealed that compared to cars with conventional engines, hybrid cars are more likely to be involved in accidents involving pedestrians at lower speeds.  The electric-gasoline hybrid delivers good fuel efficiency and mileage, but it is also super quiet as the engine runs as an electric motor most of the time – particularly at lower speeds.  Hence, it received complaints especially from the blind and old pedestrians who are more prone to be hit by the hybrid car, particularly at low speeds.  As Japan’s crowded cities have crisscrossing, narrow roads and streets, the pedestrian death instances compared with other traffic accidents are quite high.  Japan also has a large percentage of aging population, which makes audible cars critically necessary.

Other Japanese auto maker Nissan is also working on similar measures to make quiet eco-friendly cars safer for pedestrians.

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Toyota Camry still the top-selling car

What makes the Toyota Camry a top selling car?

With the safety recalls happening in the recent past, some of Toyota’s automobiles took some reputation bashing, but it has not deterred the Japanese car maker from outselling other major car makers in terms of worldwide sales.   It’s not a big surprise for those with their finger on the automobile pulse to guess – and correctly – that Toyota has again made it in the first five top selling cars.  The Toyota Camry comes in second with a 32.2 percent stake of the top ten highest selling cars market and with a 2.8 percent higher sales in comparison with sales during the same period of seven months last year, and the Toyota Corolla/Matrix taking the fourth place.

Toyota Camry has held its pride of place for almost a decade which obviously translates to the understanding that this is not a new discovery by drivers the world over but is something that seems to have stood the test of time and emerged the winner – yet again!

toyota camry japan

Review of 2011 Toyota Camry

The 2011 Camry is available in the hybrid as well as in four different models, all the way to XLE from the base trim level.  Where the hybrid comes with a four- cylinder, 2.4 liter engine packing a horsepower of 147, the other two engine types are the V6 3.5 liter engine that packs 268 HP and can climb zero to 60 mph in a little over 5 seconds, and a four-cylinder 2.5 liter engine generating a horsepower of 169.  The transmission is available in manual and automatic;  both are six-speed.

Toyota Camry’s reputation really precedes it, and loyalists of the Toyota brand of cars still swear by the Camry’s reputation of giving value for money over a long period of time.  It is renowned for its reliability as well as popularity.  The automatic transmission car comes with a no-fuss guarantee, is a family car and both – comfortable and easy to drive.

The best part of the whole deal is the price! Prices start in the range of around $20,000!! Though the interior of the Camry is not all that plush, it is very sophisticated and eye-catching.  The convenient placement of the console and dashboard brings about an ease of operations as well as gives an understanding for the driver.  The interior is also roomy enough to contain the four passengers and the driver very comfortably.  The display control monitoring the navigation, climate control and audio enhances the appearance of the Camry.

The Camry is known for its aesthetic design and an easy flowing and fluid performance.  It has additional features like an mp3 with a DVD/CD player, power seats, Bluetooth potential, dual-zone climate control, electronic locking system, a USB iPod port and is compatible with radio satellite.  The Toyota Camry also comes with electronic stability control, traction and cruise control, door locks and power windows, audio controls mounted on the steering wheel and of course, air-conditioning.

Along with other accolades, the 2010 Camry has won the remarkable reputation of surviving government conducted side and frontal crash tests and won five out of five stars.

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Nissan Car Techology to Avoid Collisions

Here’s braking news from Nissan!  Nissan Motor Co. have just developed the ultimate gadget in safety systems technology that would prevent collisions from occurring with the inbuilt computer that works in tandem with radar that can be mounted on your car.  It works on the same lines as that of the Eporo Robot Car unveiled by Nissan last year.

An increasing awareness among automobile buyers about safety is what seems to have prompted Nissan – the Japanese auto manufacturer – to introduce this latest technological innovation in collision avoidance system.  The new concept assists in avoiding a forward collision by initially warning the driver in advance with a radar sensor that is mounted in front of the car and then automatically applying brakes to evade a collision or minimize the effects of one occurring.  Check this video to see the Nissan Forward Collision Avoidance Concept  in action.

The radar sensor device which is mounted just beneath the front bumper of the car gauges the distance and the relative speed of the vehicle in front of it and calculates the speed and time of the impact and by automatically braking prevents or minimizes a collision from taking place.  Even before the impact, an alarm goes off and the driver gets to see the warning on his screen display.

The device also helps in decelerating the vehicle by automatically applying the brakes gradually and partially.  In case the driver is still slow in responding to the early warning signs, the system automatically helps to push up the accelerator, tighten the seat belts of the passengers and the driver while it goes all the way, and applies the brakes harder enabling the vehicle to come to a total stop.  The point in favor of this system is that there is no sudden jerk as felt when the driver would usually apply his brakes in a panic.  The whole process is done very gently and well in time to prevent a collision from happening.

The system software also enables the vehicle to track back to its original lane in case it glides out of it and aids it to keep safe distance from vehicles that may be too close in the lanes adjacent with its blind spot ascertaining technology.  The vehicles coming up behind are also sufficiently informed when the braking lights go on indicating the vehicle is slowing down due to the automatic brakes being applied gradually.

Nissan apparently is not the premier crash-proof car maker.  Earlier this year this system was developed by the manufacturers of Subaru cars – Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. The difference between the Nissan and Subaru forward collision technology is that Nissan technology is effective at speeds up to 60 kilometers an hour – currently the highest –  whereas Subaru’s is limited to up to 30 kilometers per hour.

As a part of its safety project, Nissan has also developed a special technology for its vehicles that will cut down the number of incidents of grave injuries and fatalities by half.  The four cameras with wide-angle video built into the navigation system of the car will monitor the area surrounding the car displaying pedestrians and stray animals and prevent even low- speed accidents that happen while parking or easing the car out of the lot.  We will have to wait and see when this collision avoidance system from Nissan would be available for their regular passenger cars and trucks.

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