Toyota sonar ups parking lot safety

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. has unveiled advanced safety technology to help avoid collisions when drivers press the wrong pedal in a parking lot.

The safety system sounds an alarm when it detects obstacles by using sonar installed in the vehicle’s body. When judged that a driver is not aware of a collision risk, it automatically applies the brakes or powers down the engine, Toyota said Monday.

According to Toyota research, roughly 7,000 accidents a year in Japan are due to pedal misapplications.

New Honda hybrid tech

JIJI

Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday it has developed a new hybrid system with an electric power train.

The system, about 30 percent more fuel-efficient than its predecessors, has been upgraded so the vehicle can start moving driven by the power train alone.

Honda’s mainstay Fit subcompact and other models will be equipped with the system in stages starting next year with the aim of competing with Toyota Motor Corp.’s Aqua small hybrid.

The system combines a 1,500cc engine and a new transmission with a powerful built-in motor. It also uses a large-capacity lithium-ion battery.

Ultracompact electric car

JIJI

Honda Motor Co. has unveiled a prototype ultracompact electric vehicle designed for short trips by elderly motorists and mothers with small children.

The Micro Commuter, 2.5 meters long and 1.25 meters wide, can seat up to two children in the rear. It can travel at a maximum of 80 kph and has a range of around 60 km on a single charge.