Toyota will be adding new safety features to several vehicles starting with the 2020MY, as the automaker has already confirmed two such systems.
The first one will basically be an upgraded version of the 17-year old function that warns the driver to turn off a long-idling engine. This feature will automatically shut off the power unit, while also issuing visual and audible warnings on the Smart Key, where available. Another warning will be added to the smartphone app.
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This system has been acclaimed by Safety Research & Strategies Inc., a vehicle and product safety company that criticized Toyota a few days before for the CO2-related deaths in their vehicles, linked to the keyless ignition system. AutoNews quoted the firm as saying that at least 37 deaths have been recorded nationwide related to the system, yet the company’s head, Sean Kane, believes the number is higher.
"This is a positive announcement, and we’re glad to see it happen. But with that being said, they’re late to the game and there are no plans in that announcement to fix the vehicles that are already on the road", Kane said.
In response, a Toyota spokesperson commented: "The safety and security of our customers are top priorities, and we sympathize with anyone in an accident involving one of our vehicles. We are pleased to see the positive response to this proactive approach. We will continue to comply with all applicable standards now and in the future."
The second system will remove the rollaway risk. Called Automatic Park, the function will automatically shift the vehicle into Park or apply the electronic emergency brake if it senses unbuckling of the seatbelt, no pressure on the brake pedal and the opening of the driver’s door.
Note: 020 Toyota Camry TRD pictured in the Gallery