Reducing driver distractions is an initial focus of the planned research center.

Toyota Announces Ann Arbor Safety Research Center

The Collaborative Safety Research Center's charter partners are the University of Michigan, Virginia Tech, and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute. Reducing driver distractions is an initial focus, and proposals from others on advanced automotive safety will be invited.

Toyota announced Jan. 9 it is starting a new Collaborative Safety Research Center at its Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and said the CSRC will collaborate with leading North American universities, hospitals, research institutions, federal agencies, and other organizations to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries on America's roads. Toyota said it estimates it will commit approximately $50 million during the next five years to fund it.

Initially, the research will focus on reducing driver distractions and also analysis of available accident and human behavior data to support stakeholders' efforts to evaluate and hasten deployment of active safety systems.

"Toyota's new safety research center will work with leading North American universities and other partners on safety projects that benefit the entire industry. Our investment will support collaborative research aiming to reduce driver distraction and increase the safety of vehicles, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians," said Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda. The CSRC director will be Chuck Gulash, a senior executive engineer at the Toyota Technical Center; he will report to Shigeki Terashi, a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp. and president of the Toyota Technical Center.

"Toyota has always tried to take a comprehensive approach to creating a safe, sustainable automotive society through advanced vehicle safety technology, intelligent transport systems. and traffic safety education," Gulash said. "We have a long history of working closely with North American partners to achieve our safety objectives, and our new collaborative research initiative will build on this tradition. We intend to publish as much of the research as possible so that it is available to federal agencies, the industry, and academia."

Charter partners are the University of Michigan, Virginia Tech, and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute on these projects:

  • University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute -- a project to assess potential benefits of advanced safety systems in a systematic way.
  • Virginia Tech -- research on the effectiveness of an electronic coaching and monitoring system for newly licensed teenage drivers.
  • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute -- a pilot study to create America's first publicly available national crash surveillance system focused on child vehicle occupants.

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