Toyota Safety Research Center in Ann Arbor Adds Four Projects

Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) in Ann Arbor has announced four research projects are being added to the next phase of its automotive safety research.
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The Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center has added four new projects to its latest five-year research phase. // Courtesy of Toyota
The Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center has added four new projects to its latest five-year research phase. // Courtesy of Toyota

Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) in Ann Arbor has announced four research projects are being added to the next phase of its automotive safety research.

The projects include a study of human diversity in injury biomechanics, a look at technologies that can help prevent impaired drivers from endangering themselves or others, how to help predict when a driver is at risk of incapacitation or illness before it becomes an emergency, and how to more effectively pass the operation of the vehicle between the driver and automation.

The new projects join the nine announced in April as part of a five-year, $30 million commitment to examine the diversity of safety needs and analyze safe mobility options that accommodate a variety of applications, physical characteristics, and levels of accessibility for people and society.

“As we continue to pursue the needs of industry around automotive safety, these new projects will help us better understand human driving behavior, (and) ways to integrate medical technology and crash protection for a diverse population of physical characteristics,” says Danil Prokhorov, director of Toyota’s CSRC and Future Research Department (FRD).

The center is collaborating with the University of Michigan (U-M) Medical School, University of Virginia (U-V), University of California (U-C) San Diego, University of Nebraska (U-N) Medical Center, Iowa State University (ISU), and University of Wisconsin (U-W)-Madison on all of the projects. New safety improvements from the projects will be publicly available to help push safety forward industrywide.

The four projects are:

Biomechanical factors for ankle injury considering population diversity and equity by U-V and the U-M Medical School — This project will examine why have crash injury differences been reported between males and females, particularly to the ankle. Researchers will use a combination of computer modeling with the THUMS, tissue experiments, and medical imaging data to investigate ankle injury mechanisms and differences across population groups, especially biological sex.

Assessing driver alcohol and drug impairment using driver monitor systems by U-C San Diego — This project will examine what technologies can help prevent impaired drivers from endangering themselves and others. Researchers will recruit and evaluate volunteers in a simulator to test the feasibility of using existing in-vehicle technologies for detecting driving impairment due to alcohol and cannabis in a controlled setting.

Investigation of mechanisms leading to sudden medical emergencies by the U-M Medical School, U-N Medical Center, and ISU — This project will examine what clues can help predict a driver’s incapacitation and illness before it becomes an emergency. Researchers will use hospital and naturalistic driving data to investigate physiologic and behavioral signatures that may indicate impending sudden medical emergencies in order to enhance options for early intervention.

Effectiveness of driver management systems for driver attention by U-W-Madison — This project will examine how vehicle interfaces can enhance a driver’s engagement in the driving task as automation capability advances. Researchers will use a driving simulator to evaluate driver management technologies and develop tools to enhance cooperation between human drivers and automated driving systems.

On top of the multi-year projects announced today and in April, CSRC states it will pursue smaller research investigations to explore potential new topics and collaborator relationships.

The investigations enable CSRC to explore contributions to current and emerging safety issues for future project planning. The investigation topics include differences in risky driving behavior across cultures, relationships between child passengers, and crash trends and differences in safety perceptions across socioeconomic groups.

By working with researchers on these topics early on, CSRC is laying the foundation for future breakthroughs in these and other areas of growing importance. CSRC welcomes continued scientific discussion on these and other potential topics for early investigations.

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