Automotive Safety Research Department

The Automotive Safety Research Department contributes to the realization of a safe and secure society by reducing safety risks in motor vehicle traffic. This is achieved by developing future safety regulations and technology evaluation methods in response to increasingly sophisticated and complex new technologies such as automated driving systems on the one hand, and by conducting research on motor vehicle safety from the perspective of drivers and pedestrians on the other.
To reduce the number of casualties in traffic accidents, we conduct various surveys and research on topics such as passive safety for collision avoidance and mitigation, active safety for accident prevention, etc.
We also propose improvements in methods for inspection, maintenance, and periodic technical inspection (PTI), etc. in response to new technologies. 

Passive Safety

When a collision occurs between vehicles or between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the impact on people must be minimized. This is called passive safety, and efforts are focused on the vehicle side, including supplemental restraint systems such as airbags and crushable structures that make the vehicle body easier to crush. To enhance the passive safety of motor vehicles, the Department is engaged in research to develop evaluation testing methods, regulations, and guidelines for vehicle technologies related to passive safety.

Active Safety

Active safety refers to preventing accidents from occurring. Many active safety technologies have already been developed that utilize sensors, computers, and communications, some of which are already used in motor vehicles. The effectiveness of active safety technology depends not only on the performance of the device, but also on whether the driver accepts the technology (driver acceptance) and the driver’s driving behavior. Using actual vehicles and driving simulators, the Department studies the characteristics of driving behavior and develops evaluation testing methods, regulations, and guidelines for active safety technologies.

Electrical and electronic technology

Today’s motor vehicles, including automated vehicles, are equipped with numerous computers and control instruments that ensure easy driving and active safety. Further, many electric and electronic technologies are also used in electric and hybrid vehicles, which will increase rapidly in the future. Electric and electronic technologies are now a critical part of motor vehicles, and their failure may lead to accidents. To ensure the safety of electrical and electronic technologies in motor vehicles, the Department is conducting studies to develop testing methods, regulations, and guidelines to evaluate these technologies.


Inspection, Maintenance, and PTI

In recent years, the number of new vehicles sold has been flat or slightly decreasing while the number of vehicles owned has been increasing. This means that the average age and average duration of use of vehicles have been increasing. Using motor vehicles safely for a long period of time requires proper inspection and maintenance. To prevent accidents caused by lack of proper inspection and maintenance, the Department is engaged in research on appropriate maintenance and management methods for various vehicles.