[From June Issue 2011]
Vehicles made by Japanese car manufacturers are not only used in Japan but also elsewhere around the world. This is because their technology is highly
In 2010, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. launched its “EyeSight Ver.2,” an innovative driver-assist system for collision prevention. It helps prevent crashes or reduces crash damage by using an automatic braking system that determines whether a collision is highly likely, either with the vehicle in front or with other obstacles, including pedestrians. Two car-mounted cameras monitor the road ahead while a computer analyzes the images to calculate the distance from obstacles or pedestrians.
The EyeSight Ver.2 system applies the brakes when a driver starting his car steps on the accelerator without realizing there’s an obstacle there. It also helps prevent accidents when a driver shifts into the wrong gear or when he mistakes the accelerator for the brake. The system can further detect a car’s drifting and can trigger an alarm if the driver dozes off. It also has the ability to compute the preceding car’s direction and speed so that your car can automatically follow it. With this kind of assistance, driving becomes easier and safer in a traffic jam.
SEKIGUCHI Mamoru, who manages the Electronics Engineering Department, says that “To protect people’s safety, we’ve been developing camera-based driving systems for about twenty years. We’ve had a hard time designing one that gives priority to the driver’s maneuvers so that he won’t be overly-dependant on the system.”
Morita Corporation is a fire truck manufacturer with the largest market share in Japan. One of its fire trucks, the “Miracle CAFS car,” is equipped with a device called CAFS (Compressed Air Foam System). This system mixes together water with a fire extinguishing chemical and compressed air.
As the surface area of the water increases, the CAFS puts out fires more efficiently. Six hundred liters of water with roughly two liters of fire extinguishing chemical can do the work of six tons of water. The system not only extinguishes fires more quickly, but also prevents the soaking of neighboring houses in crowded areas because less water is used.
“Fire trucks are like moving tool boxes,” says KAWAHIGASHI Homare, one assistant manager of the Designing Section. “They are equipped not only with water pumps but also with all kinds of tools to deal with different situations at disaster sites. It was very difficult to accommodate tools for regular fire trucks along with the CAFS in the smaller Japanese models.”
“Fire fighters are the ones who work at disaster sites risking their lives. We only make tools for them. We’ve developed this new fire truck in the hope of helping those fire fighters, any way it can,” adds KUMASHIRO Hitoshi, another assistant manager in the same section. “I was overjoyed when one fire fighter told me he put out a fire in a matter of seconds.”
So, it seems that there is at least one thing those involved in automobile manufacturing have in common – the wish to protect people’s safety.
Text: SAZAKI Ryo