One bad lawsuit is all the Japanese brand needs.
History repeats itself. If you had told us, years ago, that a few decades after Audi faced mass outrage and mounting legal pressure in the US over unintended acceleration in its 5000 sedan, Toyota would be subjected to the same, we wouldn't have believed it.
But where the issue all but crippled Audi's US sales and besmirched its good name, Toyota is determined not to succumb to the same fate. In 2012, partly in response to mounting criticism over the growing number of unintended acceleration cases, the Japanese automaker rolled out "ICS" - or "Intelligent Clearance Sonar" - adding a "Pedal Misapplication Acceleration Control System" in 2018. It worked a treat, and now, Toyota has introduced a new, more extensive version.
Toyota's new "acceleration suppression system," which it has named "Plus Support", incorporates an alarm that sounds and brings up a visual message whenever heavy throttle is applied suddenly. In such situations, the driver's throttle request is tempered, thus "suppressing acceleration" in Toyota speak.
But it's smart enough to ignore sudden stomps on the gas pedal in situations where it might be warranted - namely, when the turn signal is on, when starting or accelerating up a steep hill, and when the driver is just coming off the brake pedal. Otherwise, the car will disregard the driver's right foot input, and sound the alarm.
Plus Support adds an extra layer of protection against accidental throttle application, building on the automatic braking and acceleration suppression that already occurs in ICS cars when an obstacle is detected. As it stands, the old system helps prevent roughly 70 percent of potential accidents from accelerator pedal misapplication; with this new update, Toyota hopes to get closer to 100.
The new Plus Support system is being included on Toyota Prius and Prius Prime models from July 1, 2020, before being rolled out to additional models. Fortunately, the system is unlikely to be implemented on the Toyota Supra, though, a car that begs the driver to stamp on the throttle regularly.