No, ASA won't prevent the Perodua Myvi crash in Puchong - limits of pedal misoperation control
Jason · Sep 3, 2021 11:00 AM
By now, you'd have read all about the news of a Perodua Myvi driven by a senior citizen crashing into a supermarket and injuring someone in the process. We hope that the victim makes a full recovery. Spare also a thought for the driver, who could easily have been your parents, or even your grandparents.
Delving deeper into what caused this accident, it appears to be driver error. After getting into the car, the 64 year-old driver stepped on the throttle pedal when in fact he wanted to depress the brakes, thus causing the car to spear off into the supermarket area.
While netizens are once again jumping in on the #myvibuathal bandwagon, there were questions on our minds. Firstly, doesn't this generation of Myvi come with its own ADAS suite (called Advanced Safety Assist, ASA) that includes pedal misoperation control? Shouldn't that have prevented this crash?
Well, from the pictures of the crash at least, it does seem like the Myvi in said crash is a variant that isn't equipped with ASA (from the lack of foglamps). Even so, looking at the conditions of the crash, we doubt that ASA's pedal misoperation control would've prevented this crash. Why? Glad you asked.
We sound like a broken record, but really, ADAS isn't a magic bullet that will suddenly prevent all kinds of accidents. In this case, the pedal misoperation control should've kicked in and cut power despite the driver accidentally jumping on it, right? Not so simple.
What you must remember is, ADAS systems rely on radars or cameras (in Perodua's case, ASA uses dual cameras) to detect obstacles. Much like our eyesight, an ADAS' camera system is bound by limitations, as illustrated in the picture below.
So, in the context of the Myvi crashing into the supermarket, what went wrong? Well, for starters, it ploughed through a glass door. And glass obstacles are one of the conditions Perodua clearly stated that pedal misoperation control MIGHT NOT OPERATE properly.
Remember, it's great to have, but ultimately, the driver is responsible for controlling the vehicle. Speaking of the driver.....
Another worrying pattern in this crash is the age of the Myvi driver, who is a 64 year-old man. This kind of accidental pedal misoperation seems to be more and more prevalent in ageing societies. While I am not suggesting this only afflicts senior citizens, such regular occurences are concerning.
In April 2019, a woman and her daughter were killed, and 8 more injured in Tokyo, Japan, a senior citizen ploughed into them in his Toyota Prius. Investigations revealed that it was highly likely that the driver, - a 87 year-old man - had mistakenly accelerated when he wanted to apply the brakes.
Furthermore, according to the Japan's National Police Agency, fatal accidents involving motor vehicles in 2018, where drivers mistook the brake for throttle accounted for 5.4% among drivers aged 75 and older, which is higher than the figure for drivers under 75 at 1.1%.
Which brings us to the question: can driverless cars be the answer to assist the ageing population? Sure, it will remove a certain degree of autonomy, but the benefit is the reduced risk of such 'pedal misoperation' accidents. That said, are driverless cars ready for mainstream use?
Companies like Toyota are already giving us a glimpse of how the future might look like. Through its 'Mobility for All' campaign at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Toyota displayed an array of driverless and personal mobility solutions.
Products like the Accessible People Mover APM, e Palette and LQ can genuinely be considered as solutions for the elderly who might find their mobility increasingly limited. Which is to say, these electric-powered, driverless solutions are not really that far away from us.
Whatever it is, it's important to remember that while ADAS systems undeniably bring with it many benefits in road and pedestrian safety, there are times where it will fail. Drivers should never fully rely on ADAS to be responsible for their safety. Doing so would be foolish.
In saying that, should you still buy an ADAS-equipped car for your spouse, child, or parents? Of course! Just like Covid-19 vaccines, no ADAS can claim to be 100% effective in preventing accidents, but you'd still buy a car with one to at least mitigate harm to your loved ones, right?
Jason's foremost passion is all things automotive, where he spent his formative working years as a Product Planner and Trainer. An Advanced Driving Instructor by training and an all-round enthusiast, Jason loves going into intricate details about driving dynamics. Will drive anything with 4 wheels and a steering.