Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center introduced nine new projects being launched as part of the next phase of its pioneering automotive safety research, backed by the new five-year, $30 million commitment announced last year. The new research projects, announced during a virtual CSRC media event showcasing safer mobility, will 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.

The new projects will engage the expertise of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Iowa, Virginia Tech and Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. Data from each project will be published and openly presented to maximize the output from these collaborations and studies for benefiting the advancement of automotive safety industrywide. 

With the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the center will launch two projects: Tailored Training Based on Driver’s Self-perceptions and Knowledge and Risk-Anticipation Training to Enhance Novice Driving. The first will investigate how best to promote the proper use of safety technologies when faced with preexisting misconceptions. Through the project, researchers combine longitudinal observation and driving simulator research to investigate various approaches of educating misinformed users about safety technologies. The second will study software designed to improve scanning, target identification and correct glances while assessing its effect on driving performance, future crashes, and traffic violations.

In partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the center will carry out the Caregivers’ Attitudes Towards Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke Risks and Solutions project. Here, scientific surveys and focused group interviews will be used to analyze societal attitudes surrounding perceived risk factors and the acceptance of mitigation strategies.

With the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), Toyota’s center will carry out two projects focused around vehicle crashes. Researchers from both institutions will work on the Library of Real-world and Simulated Corner Cases for AVs-Vulnerable Road User (VRU) Crashes and Interactions. This project will study multiple, naturalistic, driving databases to identify complex VRU interaction scenarios, for use in a safety assessment. Carried out with UMTRI, Equity in Crash Protection: Considering Human Variation for Assessing Injury project takes a different approach. Here, the Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) will be used to investigate different body shapes of males and females and how to enhance crash protection for population diversity.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will head the Evolving Characteristics of Non-Driving Activities project, which will seek to study driver behavior in vehicles equipped with L2 driving assistance features that have driver monitoring systems. The study aims to understand which non-driving related activities drivers engage in while using these systems. The University of Iowa will head the Quick Response Consumer Education Needs and Over-the-Air Updates project. Through it, the institution and the center will work to understand the ways in which changes to safety technology operation impact driving performance and behavior before investigating various education methods to maximize understanding of new operation.

With Virginia Tech, and its Transportation Institute, Toyota’s center will understand how ADAS can help drivers to naturally avoid intersection crashes in the Driver Evasive Action Trends in Intersection Crashes project. It will analyze several naturalistic intersection driving datasets with crash/near-miss/normal intersection driving scenarios to develop and integrate driver models for a driver-supportive intersection system. Alongside Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), it will also carry out Predicting Behavior of Vulnerable Road Users (Bicycle & e-Scooter). This project works to identify how interactions between bicyclists, micro mobility users and other traffic participants can be enhanced to improve safety. In it, researchers will collect and analyze naturalistic driving data in multiple U.S. cities to create interaction models between vehicles, bicyclists and e-scooters to develop a stress-free driver assistance.

Projects are selected based on their application to CSRC’s new research tracks for the next five-year period – Human-Centric, Safety Assurance and Assessment – which weave together the diverse interdisciplinary backgrounds of CSRC’s team. Each project is designed to be completed in a short amount of time to emphasize agility for more rapid results.

CSRC is considering additional projects and will announce more at a later date. CSRC will also seek out new partnerships who can offer new perspectives and offer different research methods for addressing safety issues facing at-risk and vulnerable populations.