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Toyota run-aways [not F-1]


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#1 ray b

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 18:11

on the news here in the USA toyota and lexis cars are having problems
somewhat like audi did many years ago with cars reving up on their own
reports of as many as 2000 incidents since 2002 drive by wire system was introduced

If I remember correctly audi tryed to blame the drivers stepping on the gas not the brakes
but was a real flaw ever found in the audi [ls100 car I think] ?

toyota was trying to blame floor mats jamming the gas petals
and issued a recall for the mats and better anchors for the mats
but new reports of post recalled cars still having problems

is the euro spec toyota also drive by wire
do they have similar problems

side note why slipping the cars out of gear is not an instant response to run aways
is something that baffles me

a few people have died and the lawyers are smelling blood

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#2 desmo

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 18:40

on the news here in the USA toyota and lexis cars are having problems
somewhat like audi did many years ago with cars reving up on their own
reports of as many as 2000 incidents since 2002 drive by wire system was introduced

If I remember correctly audi tryed to blame the drivers stepping on the gas not the brakes
but was a real flaw ever found in the audi [ls100 car I think] ?

toyota was trying to blame floor mats jamming the gas petals
and issued a recall for the mats and better anchors for the mats
but new reports of post recalled cars still having problems

is the euro spec toyota also drive by wire
do they have similar problems

side note why slipping the cars out of gear is not an instant response to run aways
is something that baffles me

a few people have died and the lawyers are smelling blood


I think in these runaway situations the elderly driver usually finds that standing on the brake (throttle) pedal with full force simply won't slow the car down as one would expect and the transmission is somehow locked into a drive gear and can't be disengaged. If the transmission is manual (unlikely) then the clutch also surprisingly won't disengage either.


#3 J. Edlund

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 19:00

This is not an issue with the electronic throttle, but an issue with the floor mats. NHTSA have investigated the issue and found no vehicle based cause for the unintended accelerations. The only risk they have found are the floor mats, if they are of the incorrect type or not properly secured.

All cars use electronic throttles these days and these do have their own diagnostic using a double setup of potentiometers which the ECU is constantly monitor.

There was no flaw with the Audi, it was simply driver error.

#4 primer

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 19:03

Putting stuck floor mat survival strategies to the test

Excerpt:

So what should you do if you are put in such a situation? The answer is simple: Put the car in neutral. In each one of the cars we tested, we were able to easily nudge the gear lever into neutral and stop the car quickly. All modern engines have rev limiters that prevent the engine from over revving and damaging the engine. You can safely shut off the engine after you come to a stop. However, we do not advise shutting off the engine while still driving.


Also, a discussion of same issue at TTAC: Starter Button A Factor in Runaway Lexus ES350?


a few people have died and the lawyers are smelling blood


It's amazing that some of these dead people had time and 'presence' of mind to call 911, yet couldn't figure out a way to stop the car.

Edited by primer, 04 November 2009 - 19:06.


#5 McGuire

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 19:42

Unintended aka runaway acceleration is a real problem that has plagued several manufacturers over the past few decades. However, identification and diagnosis are greatly complicated by the fact that misaligned floor mats, operator error, etc. also really happen as well. All the various incidents must be sorted out on a case-by-case basis, which is extremely difficult and time consuming -- especially after the fact.

But it is a real failure and I have seen and experienced it myself. The engineers will typically say something like, "But it's impossible. You would need two failures at the same time to generate that condition." My reply to that: Pfft, two? Is that all? With this junk? What's so far-fetched about that? By "impossible," they mean "unlikely." Of course it's unlikely. If it were an obvious failure, you guys would have figured it out by now.

I identified a cause myself with one mfg'ers vehicle line: cruise control module failure + cruise control brake switch failure on the same vehicle. The module went into its accel mode unprompted and the brake switch failed to cancel it. Away the car goes, and inside a building it is difficult to get the car stopped without hitting something, even if you are prepared for it. Saw it, drove it, duplicated it, fixed it, validated it, so don't even try to tell me it doesn't exist.

I would expect that the problem would be more difficult to achieve in ETC cars than with manual throttle but it is by no means "impossible." Anything that can go wrong, will.

#6 McGuire

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 19:45

There was no flaw with the Audi, it was simply driver error.


You don't know that. It is not in your power to know that. The most you can say is Audi was never able to identify a mode of mechanical failure. Which is a completely different statement.


#7 saudoso

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 19:50

I have a Ford Fusion for one year now and no week goes by without me stepping the gas while braking. Gas should be further to the right and deeper than it is.

Edited by saudoso, 04 November 2009 - 19:51.


#8 Fat Boy

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 19:52

I don't know if any of you have heard the 911 call of the family in a rented Lexus that had a stuck throttle, but it was absolutely gut-wrenching. You just wanted to yell at them to pop the car in neutral or shut it off. The did neither and all aboard died. I don' t know if the problem was floor mats or something else, but I can tell you I had a long talk with my wife about what to do in that situation that night.



#9 McGuire

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 20:05

I don't know if any of you have heard the 911 call of the family in a rented Lexus that had a stuck throttle, but it was absolutely gut-wrenching. You just wanted to yell at them to pop the car in neutral or shut it off. The did neither and all aboard died. I don' t know if the problem was floor mats or something else, but I can tell you I had a long talk with my wife about what to do in that situation that night.


I haven't been able to make myself listen to the 911 call but if the episode is as advertised, to me the ignorance is breath-taking. If I recall, the driver was a CHP officer which is even more stupefying. There is something very wrong with both the level of driver skill and driver training when things like this can happen. Put the car in neutral or stand on the brakes; what's so hard about that? Jesus H. Christ, what were they thinking? I can understand unintended acceleration creating dangers in a garage or driveway, especially with aged or infirm drivers, but this was running down the highway. It strains credulity that people could be so uninformed/unthinking/uncreative when faced with a problem they have plenty of time to reason out. I just don't get it.


#10 J. Edlund

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 20:57

You don't know that. It is not in your power to know that. The most you can say is Audi was never able to identify a mode of mechanical failure. Which is a completely different statement.


NHTSA investigated and concluded that the majority of the cases involving sudden acceleration was caused by driver error. So it's rare that it happens due to a mechanical or electrical problem.

#11 Greg Locock

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 22:34

I haven't been able to make myself listen to the 911 call but if the episode is as advertised, to me the ignorance is breath-taking. If I recall, the driver was a CHP officer which is even more stupefying. There is something very wrong with both the level of driver skill and driver training when things like this can happen. Put the car in neutral or stand on the brakes; what's so hard about that?


Well the story goes the trans was shift by wire and wouldn't let him put it into neutral, he'd fried the brakes earlier on (Huh?) and didn't know that to emergency stop the engine you had to hold the start button down for 3 seconds (it was a loaner).

Now, the first I can believe, and is easy to check. The last I can believe. But the brakes? If the thing doesn't stop you press harder, don't just ride them until they melt. Still, he wasn't doing it for grins.

Frankly the police driver training I've seen in Oz is a curious hybrid of outdated race car techniques (shuffle steering) and unnecessary confidence-exaggerating stuff. Personally I'd put 120 kph speed limiters on all cop cars. That's what radios are for fellas.






#12 gruntguru

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 22:49

My reply to that: Pfft, two? Is that all? With this junk? What's so far-fetched about that? By "impossible," they mean "unlikely."

"Air Crash Investigations" type TV shows are interesting if you care to count the failures (technological, procedural and systemic) that combine to bring an airliner down. There are usually several - the odds against are very high, but planes still fall from the sky. Cars (and hospitals) would be a lot safer if incidents had similar consequences and instant exposure.

#13 Greg Locock

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 23:20

Cars are pretty much designed to cope with single failures. There are a few systems that aren't even that, and so are overengineered and then checked thoroughly during assembly (brake pedal linkage and steering column are the obvious ones, I don't actually know how the assembly process is Poke Yoke'd).

When ABS was introduced we did a good FMEA on it that considered two simultaneous failures, but that is the only time I've seen one generated /before/ an accident, and we certainly could not resolve all the possibilities. However nowadays ABS and the like are validated on HiL testers, which are automated and can generate any number of sensor failures and input conditions to allow automated debugging of the system. Quite an interesting field. Most problems with ABS etc are timing conflicts introduced by the hardware, the software is pretty robust, so software simulators aren't as useful.





#14 McGuire

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 01:55

http://www.safetyres...tee_Inspect.pdf

#15 ray b

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:54

kind of odd they have not dumped the stored data in the black box
I think that should be done ASAP like 5 minutes after it hit the yard

has any other runaway had it's data recorded and looked at?

#16 McGuire

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:32

Well the story goes the trans was shift by wire and wouldn't let him put it into neutral, he'd fried the brakes earlier on (Huh?) and didn't know that to emergency stop the engine you had to hold the start button down for 3 seconds (it was a loaner).

Now, the first I can believe, and is easy to check. The last I can believe. But the brakes? If the thing doesn't stop you press harder, don't just ride them until they melt. Still, he wasn't doing it for grins.


Don't know this, just guessing from the info in the report, but maybe he used up the brakes early before he realized the ernormity of his problem -- riding the pedal while looking/waiting for a way out. The brakes are well and truly cooked, it would appear from the report. Mechanically the assemblies appear intact, but once the fluid boils the apply pressure is gone. Doesn't take a lot to boil OE brake fluid and looking at the rotor and caliper pictured, the temperature was sufficient.

The takeaway here is don't dick around, get it stopped.

Don't know this either, just asking, but I wonder if the electronic throttle control, shift lever control, and engine kill are all in the same box.






#17 McGuire

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:42

"Air Crash Investigations" type TV shows are interesting if you care to count the failures (technological, procedural and systemic) that combine to bring an airliner down. There are usually several - the odds against are very high, but planes still fall from the sky. Cars (and hospitals) would be a lot safer if incidents had similar consequences and instant exposure.


Yep, a stack-up of problems leading to an eventual cascade of failures. In the cruise control scenario described above, two simultaneous failures were not required. The first module failure could pre-exist indefinitely with no awareness by the driver -- until the second failure in the brake switch circuit. Producing sudden unintended acceleration, a supposedly impossible condition. But not impossible at all; not even that weird a confluence of events when you look at it.

#18 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 11:50

Is there something wrong with normal throttle/brakes/transmissions? The biggest problem in my dad's old Wagoneer was on cold mornings in Wisconsin if it hadn't warmed up sufficiently, when you did your first big brake at the end of the street it sometimes it stalled (lack of hydraulic pressure?). You just had to press really really reaaaaalllly hard on the middle pedal to come to a stop on your intended target. And if you were approaching a turn, to remember you didn't have powersteering either.

#19 McGuire

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 12:48

Is there something wrong with normal throttle/brakes/transmissions?


Worked well enough for 100 years. But fly-by offers more flexibility, added functionality, lower manufacturing cost, etc. However, I believe they might be biting off more than they can chew. They can't deliver the degree of reliability they think they can, nor are they able to predict all the potential routes of failure. Water and salt intrusion, harness chafing, cracked circuit boards, signal noise, external EMI, software bugs, all the various combinations thereof. These are not aircraft or spacecraft operating in a carefully controlled environment. These are just cars, thrown out into in the big bad world. On Day 2 of its working life the vehicle may have a remote starter or a 3000 watt stereo installed -- by a 19 year-old kid with a handful of crimp connectors and a generic wiring schematic printed in Korea.

Thing is, mechanical systems can fail too. They always have. Happens every day. But these failures can be identified and duplicated in a straightforward manner: Engine mount fails, throttle locks open, for example. In the case above, can they know with useful certainty what locked the throttle open? Nope, not until they can duplicate the mode of failure in other vehicle(s). Look, we already know that external EMI can affect ETC operation. It's been proven. The current finding is not enough to affect vehicle operation. Whistling past the graveyard.

A race car-style engine start button in the center of the dash is sort of a dumb idea for a passenger car when you think about it. (So is an ignition switch that locks the steering column if you turn it one click too far, as long as we are thinking about it.) How about this: a big red button in the dash labelled "engine stop." Not a software input either, but a hard switch that actually, physically opens the ignition, injector, and fuel pump circuits. Problem solved.

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#20 gordmac

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 14:28

Presumably with a petrol engine you won't have a brake servo if the throttle is open much as there will be little or no vacuum in the manifold.
I know someone who hired a GM car in America a few years ago that had it run away from him (suddenly accelerated hard) and nearly ran into the car in front before he could sort it out. Phoned the hire company and a couple of GM people turned up with a laptop and managed to replicate the problem and capture the data.
VAG products will cut the engine if you try and brake and accelerate at the same time, is the brake signal from the brake light switch? If so is disconnecting the switch a way round the lack of being able to left foot brake the car?

#21 sblick

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 16:00

It's amazing that some of these dead people had time and 'presence' of mind to call 911, yet couldn't figure out a way to stop the car.
[/quote]

The gentleman driving the car was a police officer in a rental car on a very busy highway his wife called 911 to try and get some assistance from someone else and to clear traffic with other police cars. The police officer was very well versed on how to stop the car but it didn't. The brakes were burnt out and quickly can you tell me how to stop a car with a push button stop. You have to press the button for more than three seconds while the car is in motion in order for the engine to shut down. NHTSA has called out Toyota for saying it was only the mats and are still studying their pedal design and could possibly recall the car for a bad accelerator pedal.

Edited by sblick, 05 November 2009 - 16:01.


#22 McGuire

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 16:19

This is not an issue with the electronic throttle, but an issue with the floor mats. NHTSA have investigated the issue and found no vehicle based cause for the unintended accelerations. The only risk they have found are the floor mats, if they are of the incorrect type or not properly secured.


That is not what NHTSA does. NHTSA does not have the manpower, resources, or authority to indemnify any manufacturer in the manner you describe. For an idea of what NHTSA does, refer to the field report prepared by a NHTSA investigator regarding this episode. (Link above.) NHTSA's means of identifying vehicle safety issues is primarily statistical (based on incidents reported by consumers and/or taken from accident investigations) and relies mainly on the manufacturer to design appropriate remedies, which it may then approve.

The main problem I see with the "floor mat theory" is that NHTSA has a significant number of cases where there were no floor mats involved. The recall is based on the premise that there appears to be a problem with the floor mats and it can be easily fixed, so fix it. This is not to suggest that the floor mats are the only problem, or even the real problem, only an effective remedy for some number of cases -- a reasonable response where safety is concerned.

As for this particular episode, it does not seem reasonable to me that a floor mat was sole cause. That presumes that the driver was unable to kick the floor mat clear of the throttle pedal -- which he had ample time to do in this instance. This case also compels us to ask why the driver did not simply shift the transmission into neutral. Either three adults, one of them a highway patrol officer with nearly 20 years of experience, totally lost their minds for an entire minute or more, or more likely, the shift lever was no longer functioning. Unless the shifter was also entangled in the floor mat (a facetious proposition) it is reasonable to assert that the problem is likely more serious than floor mats and calls for an immediate and complete investigation -- one that does not conclude until the cause is identified.

Which leaves us with the engine start button (which is also an engine stop button, but is not so labeled) in the dash. Reportedly, this button must be held down for three seconds in order to shut off the engine. WTF. Three seconds at 70 mph is a distance of approximately 310 feet, a totally unacceptable delay in time and distance. If that is indeed the actual function of the control button, such a feature would be beyond stupid in its design. This can and should be corrected immediately. In this accident, there are really only two possibilities regarding said button: either the driver never realized that it also served an engine shut-off control, or it failed to work. Either way, it's a totally f**ked up way to do an engine control and it needs to go away. What, are we TRYING to build stupid cars that needlessly cause death and injury?




#23 primer

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 16:59

They really need to standardize these start/stop buttons across manufacturers. Presently to shut off the engine (while vehicle is in moton) one manufacturer's button requires you to press it for three hours seconds, while anothers' requires a triple click.

Make it so that if Start/Stop button is pressed while the car is in motion (or revs above n rpm), the car should immediately shift to neutral and idle revs. Ample time to pull over (with power steering and other assists working) and park the car. Also log every such 'emergency' shut off in memory with an error code, along with a snapshot of data such as accelerator pedal position, brake applied and so on. A second press of the button (when the car is stopped) should kill the motor. Third should reset and allow a normal start of the engine.

Another: if the brake is applied for more than n seconds while accelerator is still pressed, switch to the neutral and idle revs mode again.

Edited by primer, 05 November 2009 - 17:01.


#24 Tony Matthews

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 17:05

What, are we TRYING to build stupid cars that needlessly cause death and injury?

But don't you find that many new products have operating systems that are counter-intuitive? Fine when you've trawled through the handbook, and in most cases if there is a problem it is not life threatening, just a pain. The handbooks and manuals themselves are often badly written and laid-out - don't start me on the illustrations...

#25 Zoe

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 17:43

Worked well enough for 100 years. But fly-by offers more flexibility, added functionality, lower manufacturing cost, etc. However, I believe they might be biting off more than they can chew. They can't deliver the degree of reliability they think they can, nor are they able to predict all the potential routes of failure. Water and salt intrusion, harness chafing, cracked circuit boards, signal noise, external EMI, software bugs, all the various combinations thereof. These are not aircraft or spacecraft operating in a carefully controlled environment. These are just cars, thrown out into in the big bad world. On Day 2 of its working life the vehicle may have a remote starter or a 3000 watt stereo installed -- by a 19 year-old kid with a handful of crimp connectors and a generic wiring schematic printed in Korea.


A problem slowly becoming popular is a wrong rewiring of the ESP sensor. The consequence is fatal, as when the car starts to spin and the electronics want to correct with braking individual wheels, it will read a wrong spin angle or direction and amplify the problem instead of correcting it.

Another problem with ESP is, when for some reason the computer thinks the car is starting to spin when it is actually travelling straight ahead. The following brake activation will steer the car into the guard rail or - worse - into headon traffic. Happened before...

Some newer Volkswagen models already experienced problems with the electric power steering. Apparently a dying capacitor in the cotrol unit leads to a glitch on the control output with the result of sudden steering inputs without driver inputs. Having disassembled some Volkswagen electronic boxes myself, I'm terribly afraid of the consequences of the cheap implementation and (at best) mediocre workmanship. The worst I encountered with my Volkswagen was the central lock which locked me into the car and refused to let me out and a non-working temperature and fuel level display. While not happy with it at all, it didn't hurt (only made me look like a fool, climbing out of the window); but the thought of my life depending on some el cheapo VW electronics makes me cringe with fear.

I still prefer a mechanical coupling of throttle, clutch, steering and gearbox. In case of doubt, I can simply turn back the ignition key one notch and kill the engine. I needed to do that once with an old Subaru when (hear hear) the throttle actually caught under the floor mat. I wouldn't have wanted to wait three seconds before some electronic unit would (or would not) shut off the engine instead. Three seconds can be a looong time, especially then the turbo is pushing the car forward quite powerfully.

Zoe

#26 sblick

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 17:51

No doubt you should know your own car but a rental car is a very different animal. Allegedly the police officer in this car had pressed the Start/Stop button but did not know it had to be held. When you get into a rental car everyhting is foriegn. Another thing to know about this story is that Toyota had already recalled all the floor mats in this Lexus vehicle. Dealers were supposed to put the new ones in unfortunately even the fix was flawed. So this is the second time Toyota has recalled these mats.

#27 primer

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 18:14

AFAIK in the police officer's case they had installed another set of mat (truck mats) over the OEM articles.

If the accelerator pedal is mounted on the floor (floor hinged) there would be no space for the mats to slide under. Just sayin'.

#28 meb58

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 20:24

Re Audi...I watched a couple of TV programs that attempted to help find a problem. In one program there were cameras all over the test area, and when folks driving were placed in a panic situation many said they were stepping on the brake while stepping on the throttle. I can also say that after watching this particular segment that the cars moved as if the throttle were mashed. I can only report here what I saw on TV...I was not there. So why Audi and no one else...pedal juxtaposition is the only fault I can personally think of.

A thought...a manual transmissions appears to be much better suited to stopping in a run away situation; they bog down in gear and refuse to run at some point...1,000 rpm??? An automatic, it would seem, defies the action of brakes at some level. And what about anti-lock brakes in this situation? If a driver is trying to stomp on the brakes, the tires saturation in straight ahead, ABS does it's thing and the car will not stop...?

A panic while at the wheel can occur even with seasoned drivers. All it takes is a heavy conversation with someone else in the car and a sudden but unexpected move from the car...our brains focus on one thing - conversation - and fade when given a condition that is surprising...unexpected.

In my car, the Hydro Unit ASC failed - you were asking for codes a while back McGuire - and all sorts of funny things happen. I am quite worried!


You don't know that. It is not in your power to know that. The most you can say is Audi was never able to identify a mode of mechanical failure. Which is a completely different statement.


Edited by meb58, 05 November 2009 - 20:41.


#29 Tony Matthews

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 20:47

A panic while at the wheel can occur even with seasoned drivers. All it takes is a heavy conversation with someone else in the car and a sudden but unexpected move from the car...our brains focus on one thing - conversation - and fade when given a condition that is surprising...unexpected.

A lot of people think of driving a car as something to do whilst talking to someone beside or behind them with eye-contact, useing a phone, smoking, shaving, reading maps or business papers or, as I saw recently, taking off a suit jacket. Being in control and aware of the changing situation outside the vehicle seems to be the last thing on most drivers minds.

#30 McGuire

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 21:07

Huh. Just got this in the mailbox from ABC News:


http://abcnews.go.co...tory?id=9007163

Toyota Executive Denies "Cover Up" In Probe of Runaway Cars

Federal Officials' Rebuke of Toyota Fuels Owners' Concern

By MARGARET CONLEY, JOSEPH RHEE and BRIAN ROSS

Nov. 5, 2009 —


A senior Toyota executive denied today allegations the company is trying to cover up the cause of an estimated 2,000 reports of so-called runaway cars that experience sudden surges of acceleration .

"It is not part of the Toyota culture and Toyota way to cover up anything," said Yukitoshi Funo, one of Toyota's five executive vice-presidents at its Tokyo headquarters.


The Toyota denial comes after U.S. highway safety officials rebuked the company for falsely claiming government inspectors had found "no defects exist" in the suspect cars other than loose floor mats.

Toyota has recalled some 3.8 million floor mats and had said that should fix the problem.


"This matter is not closed," said a statement issued by the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

"Removal of the floor mats is simply an interim measure, not a remedy of the underlying defect in the vehicles," the U.S. statement said.

A growing number of Toyota owners say their car experienced acceleration surges of up to 100 miles per hour even though their cars did not have the recalled floor mats or, in some cases, any floor mats at all.


Some owners suspect a glitch in the Toyota computer that controls acceleration.

"No manufacturer is going to come out and say 'we've got an electronic problem and by the way, we don't have a fix for it yet,'" said safety analyst Sean Kane, who works with government regulators, plaintiffs' lawyers and auto companies.


While the focus of the federal investigation relates to Toyota floor and gas pedal design, the Toyota executive said today that a broad range of possible causes is also being discussed.

"Certainly we are talking about floor mats, but at the same time, the vehicle side too," said Funo in response to a question about an electrical problem.

Federal inspectors said they were unable to find any computer or electronic defect in six separate investigations since 2003, but added it "does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist."


Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures

#31 meb58

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 21:19

I have a cure, place a dagger in the steering wheel instead of an air bag. Okay, so this should be fruitful thought exercise and nothing more. I submit the more safety we include in cars, the more caloused and disconnected folks become with the task of driving.

...and when cars reach the size of living rooms every living room activity is inlcuded for seven...


A lot of people think of driving a car as something to do whilst talking to someone beside or behind them with eye-contact, useing a phone, smoking, shaving, reading maps or business papers or, as I saw recently, taking off a suit jacket. Being in control and aware of the changing situation outside the vehicle seems to be the last thing on most drivers minds.


Edited by meb58, 05 November 2009 - 21:22.


#32 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 21:23

I am reading this in disbelief.I have not driven a car with this type of ignition, it seems totally stupid and dangerous.
But a stuck throttle can and will cause horrendous accidents but in the case quoted, take the car out of gear. if that cannot happen the cars should all be recalled so you can. Fly by wire is fine if everything is kept clean and maintained but have caused hassles on bush vehicles.[Probably happen with a cable too]Too much electronic marvels that cause trouble, and often as has been said poorly made.
And yes all vehicles should have standardised controls, it can be damn dangerous. My recent case was in the rain, a truck sprayed a huge amount of dirty water over the car I was driving blanking out the screen, turned the wipers on and got indicaters. All arse about on the car I was driving.It could have been deadly as I was blind for 3 or 4 seconds

#33 desmo

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 21:27

On any car with a conventional keyed ignition these slower developing scenarios could never occur because the driver can always simply turn off the ignition switch. I guess it isn't that simple with the silly gadgety keyless ignitions, but surely any powered vehicle cannot allowed out of the factory door without an easy to find and use kill switch of some sort? It's common sense.

#34 gruntguru

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 22:30

VAG products will cut the engine if you try and brake and accelerate at the same time


What - no burnouts?

#35 gruntguru

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 22:49

A thought...a manual transmissions appears to be much better suited to stopping in a run away situation; they bog down in gear and refuse to run at some point...1,000 rpm??? An automatic, it would seem, defies the action of brakes at some level. And what about anti-lock brakes in this situation?


Yes. If the manual is in top gear the braking effort required to get the car to a standstill stays relatively constant. With an auto it will downshift all the way - keeping the tractive effort at the maximum available.

#36 J. Edlund

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 02:00

Don't know this either, just asking, but I wonder if the electronic throttle control, shift lever control, and engine kill are all in the same box.


Usually, the engine is controlled by the ECU to which the two pedal potentiometers are connected. The electronic throttle is also directly controlled by the ECU. The gearbox (automatic) is controlled by TCM which also handle the selection of different shift modes, P, N, D and so on. TCM communicate with the ECU over a high speed bus and it can that way demand torque limitations in case it is needed for a gearchange for instance. The ECU also handles the cruise control function. The cruise control, throttle pedal, TCS/ESP, idle control and AC and generator compensator are the functions that can request a positive torque demand.

With a regular key the engine is shut off when one of the electrical connections to the ECU is broken. Then there is a time delay on the relay that powers the ECU, throttle, fuel injectors and such so that the ECU can perform neccessary functions before its microprocessors are shut down. I don't know how the starter button works, but I would assume that it's a separate unit that triggers the ECU in similar way.

Yep, a stack-up of problems leading to an eventual cascade of failures. In the cruise control scenario described above, two simultaneous failures were not required. The first module failure could pre-exist indefinitely with no awareness by the driver -- until the second failure in the brake switch circuit. Producing sudden unintended acceleration, a supposedly impossible condition. But not impossible at all; not even that weird a confluence of events when you look at it.


The cruise control scenario above wouldn't work today. The cruise control is an integrated function of the ECU and requires several conditions to be fulfilled to be engaged and stay engaged.

When the cruise control breaker is set by the driver a message to activate cruise control will be sent on the powertrain bus (which is separated from the information bus). Then a certain number of conditions will need to be fulfilled for the system to activate, typically: car speed for front and rear wheels 25-200 km/h, brake light switch off, brake and clutch switch off, a gear selected, brake used since start (function check), power from key/start system, no stored fault codes that can have an effect on the cruise control, TCS/ESP inactive and a rate of speed change within a certain limit. If those conditions are fulfilled cruise control will engage so that the speed sent over the bus from TCS/ESP is maintained.

A race car-style engine start button in the center of the dash is sort of a dumb idea for a passenger car when you think about it. (So is an ignition switch that locks the steering column if you turn it one click too far, as long as we are thinking about it.) How about this: a big red button in the dash labelled "engine stop." Not a software input either, but a hard switch that actually, physically opens the ignition, injector, and fuel pump circuits. Problem solved.


The normal key physically disengage the power, but there is a time delay since the ECU have to have power a few seconds after shut off. With a starter button it's probably wise to have some sort of system that doesn't allow the button to be pressed by mistake. Shutting off the engine when not intended can cause an accident aswell.

That is not what NHTSA does. NHTSA does not have the manpower, resources, or authority to indemnify any manufacturer in the manner you describe. For an idea of what NHTSA does, refer to the field report prepared by a NHTSA investigator regarding this episode. (Link above.) NHTSA's means of identifying vehicle safety issues is primarily statistical (based on incidents reported by consumers and/or taken from accident investigations) and relies mainly on the manufacturer to design appropriate remedies, which it may then approve.

The main problem I see with the "floor mat theory" is that NHTSA has a significant number of cases where there were no floor mats involved. The recall is based on the premise that there appears to be a problem with the floor mats and it can be easily fixed, so fix it. This is not to suggest that the floor mats are the only problem, or even the real problem, only an effective remedy for some number of cases -- a reasonable response where safety is concerned.

As for this particular episode, it does not seem reasonable to me that a floor mat was sole cause. That presumes that the driver was unable to kick the floor mat clear of the throttle pedal -- which he had ample time to do in this instance. This case also compels us to ask why the driver did not simply shift the transmission into neutral. Either three adults, one of them a highway patrol officer with nearly 20 years of experience, totally lost their minds for an entire minute or more, or more likely, the shift lever was no longer functioning. Unless the shifter was also entangled in the floor mat (a facetious proposition) it is reasonable to assert that the problem is likely more serious than floor mats and calls for an immediate and complete investigation -- one that does not conclude until the cause is identified.

Which leaves us with the engine start button (which is also an engine stop button, but is not so labeled) in the dash. Reportedly, this button must be held down for three seconds in order to shut off the engine. WTF. Three seconds at 70 mph is a distance of approximately 310 feet, a totally unacceptable delay in time and distance. If that is indeed the actual function of the control button, such a feature would be beyond stupid in its design. This can and should be corrected immediately. In this accident, there are really only two possibilities regarding said button: either the driver never realized that it also served an engine shut-off control, or it failed to work. Either way, it's a totally f**ked up way to do an engine control and it needs to go away. What, are we TRYING to build stupid cars that needlessly cause death and injury?


They doesn't need to explain every case with the floor mats. After all, I would be surprised if all the cases could be explained by the floor mats. But I would expect that the majority of the cases could either be explained by the floor mats or driver error. After that we probably have a few cases left that would have to be explained by malfunctions of the cars. In total, car malfunctions are involved in the cause of about 1% of all road car accidents.

Have you by the way heard of a case of sudden unintended acceleration where the car has a 'smart throttle', where the car ignores throttle pedal position when the brakes are used?

Re Audi...I watched a couple of TV programs that attempted to help find a problem. In one program there were cameras all over the test area, and when folks driving were placed in a panic situation many said they were stepping on the brake while stepping on the throttle. I can also say that after watching this particular segment that the cars moved as if the throttle were mashed. I can only report here what I saw on TV...I was not there. So why Audi and no one else...pedal juxtaposition is the only fault I can personally think of.

A thought...a manual transmissions appears to be much better suited to stopping in a run away situation; they bog down in gear and refuse to run at some point...1,000 rpm??? An automatic, it would seem, defies the action of brakes at some level. And what about anti-lock brakes in this situation? If a driver is trying to stomp on the brakes, the tires saturation in straight ahead, ABS does it's thing and the car will not stop...?

A panic while at the wheel can occur even with seasoned drivers. All it takes is a heavy conversation with someone else in the car and a sudden but unexpected move from the car...our brains focus on one thing - conversation - and fade when given a condition that is surprising...unexpected.

In my car, the Hydro Unit ASC failed - you were asking for codes a while back McGuire - and all sorts of funny things happen. I am quite worried!


An automatic the gearbox will downshift and resist, with a manual the gearbox obviously can't downshift by itself. The large market share of automatic gearboxes in North America is perhaps the reason why sudden unintended acceleration appears to be bigger issue there.

Yes, all sorts of funny things can happend when there is an issue with the electrical system, the car can even turn itself off. But for a fault to request full throttle, that must almost be impossible.

#37 Greg Locock

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 02:34

surely any powered vehicle cannot allowed out of the factory door without an easy to find and use kill switch of some sort? It's common sense.


Surely any operator of a lethal device should be expected to familiarise himself with the controls before using it? It's common sense.

Hands up who has changed gears on a Triumph with their left foot?


#38 McGuire

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 03:22

They doesn't need to explain every case with the floor mats. After all, I would be surprised if all the cases could be explained by the floor mats. But I would expect that the majority of the cases could either be explained by the floor mats or driver error. After that we probably have a few cases left that would have to be explained by malfunctions of the cars. In total, car malfunctions are involved in the cause of about 1% of all road car accidents.


But you wrote:

"This is not an issue with the electronic throttle, but an issue with the floor mats. NHTSA have investigated the issue and found no vehicle based cause for the unintended accelerations. The only risk they have found are the floor mats, if they are of the incorrect type or not properly secured."

That is exactly the characterization that NHTSA is objecting to. It does not have the resources or the authority to make such findings. When the company proclaimed "case closed" with the floor mat recall, just as you have done here, NHTSA cried foul. NHTSA is not satisfied that the floor mats are sole or primary cause, has not closed the case, and has now further indicated it will continue to pursue the matter to the extent of its abilities.

As a practical matter, the issuance of a TSB or product recall never indicates "case closed." Additional actions from that point forward are extremely commonplace. In the case of Audi's SUA, there were five official product recalls.

Additional point: we can't correlate vehicle malfunctions to accident incidence as you have done here. The process is designed to identify and remedy vehicle problems before they result in accidents, not just after the accidents occur.

#39 McGuire

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 03:33

Surely any operator of a lethal device should be expected to familiarise himself with the controls before using it? It's common sense.

Hands up who has changed gears on a Triumph with their left foot?


Hand up. Also Indians, with left-hand throttle and suicide clutch. Of course it is common sense to give yourself a two-minute checkout on the controls of a vehicle before heading out. Since I drive a wide variety of vehicles, I try to make a point of it. However, it is also common sense to design the controls of a vehicle in an intelligent and intuitive manner so people don't kill themselves.


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#40 McGuire

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 04:16

The cruise control scenario above wouldn't work today. The cruise control is an integrated function of the ECU and requires several conditions to be fulfilled to be engaged and stay engaged.

When the cruise control breaker is set by the driver a message to activate cruise control will be sent on the powertrain bus (which is separated from the information bus). Then a certain number of conditions will need to be fulfilled for the system to activate, typically: car speed for front and rear wheels 25-200 km/h, brake light switch off, brake and clutch switch off, a gear selected, brake used since start (function check), power from key/start system, no stored fault codes that can have an effect on the cruise control, TCS/ESP inactive and a rate of speed change within a certain limit. If those conditions are fulfilled cruise control will engage so that the speed sent over the bus from TCS/ESP is maintained.


Of course it can still happen. Where once the CC function was in a separate module, now it typically lives in the same box with the ECM. And where once the function operated a vacuum servo or electric stepper motor to manipulate the throttle, now it feeds commands to the throttle's own integral stepper motor. All the same circuitry and compenentry, simply rearranged. The discrete units had all the same overrides and failsafes, even more, and they could still fail. Of course these can still fail too. If anything, a higher level of integration increases failure incidence and complicates forseeability.

Believe me when I tell you: when a printed circuit board is cracked, wet, corroded, or defectively manufactured, there is not a human being on earth who can guarantee what it "can't" do. In terms of inputs and outputs, there is no "impossible." If 12V goes in on one pin, it can come out on any other pin. Anywhere. We are really only talking about various levels of probability, not possibility. People don't realize that Murphy's Law is a real law. If it can go wrong, it can go wrong.


#41 cheapracer

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 04:53

Surely any operator of a lethal device should be expected to familiarise himself with the controls before using it? It's common sense.

Hands up who has changed gears on a Triumph with their left foot?


I have previously shown pictures of where I once worked.

left shift Trumpys, right shift Trumpys, right shift reverse pattern Nortons, left foot clutch Harley WLA's with hand change etc. - all in a days work :-)

By the way, America forced Trumpy to go left shift in the 70's by law, I always found that strange as right change British bikes were there a long time before the Japanese onslaught with their left hand changes.

3 seconds for a kill button is an enormous amount of time, far too long. In Canberra about 25 years ago a young lady managed to go over 1 km in surburban streets with a stuck throttle in an early model Celica (carby, manual) killing herself and her friend stopping on a lamppost at high speed - didn't have the presence of mind to do anything but steer the car, very sad.




#42 gruntguru

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 07:12

stuck throttle in an early model Celica (carby, manual)


Just shows how useless the diver license testing is.
Test question "How would you stop the car if the throttle stuck open?" Answer(s)
1. Brakes
2. Clutch
3. Gear lever
4. Ignition switch

Any others I haven't thought of?

Edited by gruntguru, 06 November 2009 - 07:14.


#43 Tony Matthews

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 13:02

1. Brakes
2. Clutch
3. Gear lever
4. Ignition switch

Any others I haven't thought of?

5. Run into the back of someone going only slightly slower than you. Hope he brakes in a straight line.
6. Look out for friendly foliage, preferably growing in a ditch free of telegraph poles.

I once took off over a high earth kerb - don't ask - and landed in a council gravel store. I was subjected to a very rapid, progressive and noisy deceleration, followed by a four hour wait to be pulled out by a Landrover. For the first few miles every bend caused gravel to rush out of all the nooks and crannies under the car. It was like being at the seaside. I don't mean to be flippant, this is a serious problem.

#44 meb58

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 13:13

You raise an interesting point; in my field when we design and build something it must protect the better health and well being of it's occupants forever...there is a nice photo in my office of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The caption underneath states, "In this country we would still be liable for this." Excluding the reasons for foundation failure in that example, when is a car too old to be considered relaible transportation? ...afterwhich the driver takes his/her own life into his/her own hands? Parts wear, and corrode and engineers and manufacturers have to warranty againts all odds for ever? I certainly hope not, but where is the cut off? My guess is it depends in our current climate. But if we do go completely electronic - cars driving themselves whilst we sit and read - we remove ever more driver responsibility.


Believe me when I tell you: when a printed circuit board is cracked, wet, corroded, or defectively manufactured, there is not a human being on earth who can guarantee what it "can't" do. In terms of inputs and outputs, there is no "impossible." If 12V goes in on one pin, it can come out on any other pin. Anywhere. We are really only talking about various levels of probability, not possibility. People don't realize that Murphy's Law is a real law. If it can go wrong, it can go wrong.



#45 J. Edlund

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 20:17

But you wrote:

"This is not an issue with the electronic throttle, but an issue with the floor mats. NHTSA have investigated the issue and found no vehicle based cause for the unintended accelerations. The only risk they have found are the floor mats, if they are of the incorrect type or not properly secured."

That is exactly the characterization that NHTSA is objecting to. It does not have the resources or the authority to make such findings. When the company proclaimed "case closed" with the floor mat recall, just as you have done here, NHTSA cried foul. NHTSA is not satisfied that the floor mats are sole or primary cause, has not closed the case, and has now further indicated it will continue to pursue the matter to the extent of its abilities.


They may not have the resources if aircraft accident investigators, but they have investigated and they have not found any vehicle based cause for the unintended accelerations just as I wrote. If they want to continue searching or if you claim that they doen't have the resources doesn't change the fact that they haven't found any vehicle based cause.

As a practical matter, the issuance of a TSB or product recall never indicates "case closed." Additional actions from that point forward are extremely commonplace. In the case of Audi's SUA, there were five official product recalls.


With the Audi they added things like a gearchange interloc, intended to prevent unintended accelerations caused by driver error.

Additional point: we can't correlate vehicle malfunctions to accident incidence as you have done here. The process is designed to identify and remedy vehicle problems before they result in accidents, not just after the accidents occur.


It is known from accident investigations that something like 1% of the accidents are caused by various car related trouble. A british investigation found that 2% of all car accidents where caused in whole or part by the cars, they concluded that 1% was brake related issues and 1% was tire related issues. So accidents caused by cars are rare, and when it happens it is mostly related to brakes and tires.

Of course it can still happen. Where once the CC function was in a separate module, now it typically lives in the same box with the ECM. And where once the function operated a vacuum servo or electric stepper motor to manipulate the throttle, now it feeds commands to the throttle's own integral stepper motor. All the same circuitry and compenentry, simply rearranged. The discrete units had all the same overrides and failsafes, even more, and they could still fail. Of course these can still fail too. If anything, a higher level of integration increases failure incidence and complicates forseeability.


It can't happen the way you described. The cruise control is also a torque request function, the cruise control itself doesn't control the throttle. When the cruise control is set, it checks what I wrote earlier, then it sets the speed at the speed given by the TCS/ESP over the bus. If this speed is 60 km/h for instance it will use tables to check up how much torque the engine need to produce to maintain that speed. Say that it is 30 Nm it will send a torque request of 30 Nm to the regular torque management function. It then checks car speed on the bus, if the speed equals 55 km/h it will increase the torque request until 60 km/h is reached (or until a maximum time limit is reached). The cruise control function works the same way for gasoline and diesel engines, manual or automatics.

There are also three switches in addition to the cruise control button which can turn off the cruise control. These are the brake light switch, brake pedal switch, clutch pedal switch or gear level switch in the case of an automatic. Each of these switches must have been function checked before the cruise control can be turned on and if, for any reason, a pedal/gear switch can't provide a current (faulty wires, oxidized leads and similar) the cruise control will be turned off. Also, should the ECU discover an internal fault, a fault with the throttle control or anything else that is serious, the cruise control will be disconnected aswell. Is a serious fault in the throttle control found, it triggers a fuel shut off.

Have you by the way heard on any cases of SUA involving newer diesels and cars with 'smart throttles'? Modern diesels have a torque management structure that is similar to gasoline engines (although fuelmass related rather than airmass related as with gasoline engines) and with cars with smart throttles it's possible to brake and slow down even if the throttle is pushed for any reason.

Believe me when I tell you: when a printed circuit board is cracked, wet, corroded, or defectively manufactured, there is not a human being on earth who can guarantee what it "can't" do. In terms of inputs and outputs, there is no "impossible." If 12V goes in on one pin, it can come out on any other pin. Anywhere. We are really only talking about various levels of probability, not possibility. People don't realize that Murphy's Law is a real law. If it can go wrong, it can go wrong.


But Murphy's law is not a real law. Yes, anything that can happen probably will happen given enough time, but that doesn't mean it actually will happen.

Place an object on a table. Now, since the object can fall through the table according to the laws of physics it will according to Murphy's law. Of course, in reality an object never has and never will fall through a table, although it would be slightly difficult to check such a claim.

#46 cheapracer

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 11:57

Just shows how useless the diver license testing is.
Test question "How would you stop the car if the throttle stuck open?" Answer(s)
1. Brakes
2. Clutch
3. Gear lever
4. Ignition switch

Any others I haven't thought of?


Quite a number of stuck throttles for me - clutch, brakes and then go for the key if I can.

"Steet" brakes are horribly ineffective against a car full throttle in 2nd gear (changing to 2nd is usually when I have "discovered" the problem), if you dont declutch you are in trouble and I can quite well believe what the policeman went through with an auto.

The Alfa 75 gave me the biggest scare, a bloody mushroom shaped throttle stop that the peddle sidestepped and got caught under. In hindsight I should have reported it, it has happened to another member here in an Alfasud (?). Think about it, a mushroom shaped throttle stop FFS.



#47 McGuire

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 12:49

They may not have the resources if aircraft accident investigators, but they have investigated and they have not found any vehicle based cause for the unintended accelerations just as I wrote. If they want to continue searching or if you claim that they doen't have the resources doesn't change the fact that they haven't found any vehicle based cause.


That's hardly the issue, is it? Earlier you stated that NHTSA resolved the issue with the floor mat recall. That is not the case, according to NHTSA itself.


It can't happen the way you described. The cruise control is also a torque request function, the cruise control itself doesn't control the throttle. When the cruise control is set, it checks what I wrote earlier, then it sets the speed at the speed given by the TCS/ESP over the bus. If this speed is 60 km/h for instance it will use tables to check up how much torque the engine need to produce to maintain that speed. Say that it is 30 Nm it will send a torque request of 30 Nm to the regular torque management function. It then checks car speed on the bus, if the speed equals 55 km/h it will increase the torque request until 60 km/h is reached (or until a maximum time limit is reached).


Of course it can still happen. In your description above, simply replace the word "torque" with the word "throttle" (how the torque command is achieved) and there you are.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if current cases are cruise related. Think about it: aside from pedal input, how many large-scale throttle commands are there?


But Murphy's law is not a real law. Yes, anything that can happen probably will happen given enough time, but that doesn't mean it actually will happen.

Place an object on a table. Now, since the object can fall through the table according to the laws of physics it will according to Murphy's law. Of course, in reality an object never has and never will fall through a table, although it would be slightly difficult to check such a claim.


A misstating of both modern physics and Murphy's Law. Of course, Murphy's Law is a sort of Ambrose Bierce pronouncement, but it had a real-life basis in post-war rocket sled experiments, with important implications in systems analysis. Simply put, if there are two ways to do something without a clear differentiator, the wrong way will be selected. An orange cannot fall through a table; it's more or less impossible. But when faced with multiple options, people will often make the wrong choice. Happens every day. In the classic Murphy's Law example, sensor polarity. There were only two possible ways to wire the things so guess how they got wired -- the wrong way.





#48 primer

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 20:26

Class action suit filed against Toyota over sudden acceleration claims


PRESS RELEASE

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Toyota to Correct Sudden Acceleration

REDLANDS, Calif., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The law firm of McCuneWright, LLP, filed a national class action lawsuit yesterday against Toyota Motor Corporation on behalf of Toyota and Lexus owners who have experienced incidents of sudden unintended acceleration.

Los Angeles County residents Seong Bae Choi, the owner of a 2004 Camry and Chris Chan Park, who owns a 2008 FJ Cruiser, will represent the class. Both have experienced multiple instances of sudden unintended acceleration in their respective vehicles, Choi and Park are also among the thousands of Toyota and Lexus owners who have experienced incidents of sudden unintended acceleration while driving their vehicles, and among the millions who are potentially affected by this dangerous defect.

The crash in Santee that claimed four lives in August raised the profile of the issue with the public, Toyota, and federal regulators. California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor was at the wheel of a Lexus ES 350 sedan on Highway 125, when the vehicle inexplicably accelerated to speeds exceeding 100 mph. According to a 911 call of the incident, Saylor was unable to stop the Lexus before it crashed and burst into flames, killing him, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law.

This, however, is not the only fatal crash resulting from sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus models. Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies, Inc., has reported at least 16 fatalities and 243 injuries in crashes involving Toyotas that have been attributed to sudden unintended acceleration. In total, there have been more than 2,000 complaints of sudden unintended acceleration in these vehicles, culled from litigation and consumer-reported complaints to the automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Toyota has tried to lay all the blame on floor mats, launching a recall last month affecting approximately four million Toyota and Lexus vehicles. But the evidence suggests that the causes of these uncontrolled acceleration events are likely more complex, involving computer, electronic, and mechanical systems.

"For years, Toyota Motor Corporation has dismissed complaints of sudden acceleration as being the driver's fault," said McCuneWright attorney, David Wright. "But neither driver error nor floor mats can explain away many other frightening instances of runaway Toyotas. Until the company acknowledges the real problem and fixes it, we worry that other preventable injuries and deaths will occur."

Toyota's first response should be immediate changes to their control systems, so drivers can safely stop a sudden unintended acceleration event, Wright said. Toyota's current design does not allow drivers to easily put the vehicle in neutral, apply the brakes, or just turn off the ignition. NHTSA recently highlighted this problem in a Vehicle Research & Test Center report. It noted that Toyota and Lexus drivers could be stymied in an emergency situation because:

* the ignition button on vehicles with a keyless ignition system must be depressed continuously for three seconds when the vehicle is moving before it will turn off the engine;
* the neutral gear position is difficult to find because it requires the driver to move the shifter both laterally and vertically; and
* when the throttle is in the open position it requires a brake pedal force of 150 pounds to stop the vehicle, five times more than the 30 pounds required when the vehicle is operating normally.

In addition, Toyota vehicles are not equipped with a brake-to-idle failsafe, which many other manufacturers already incorporate in their designs. This failsafe brings the engine to idle when both the throttle is in the open position at the same time the brake pedal is being depressed.

"We think this lawsuit is necessary to save lives," Wright said. "Along with other individual lawsuits, the press, consumer groups, and the government, it is our goal to force Toyota to make these changes."


Shit just got real. ):

#49 McGuire

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 21:13

It is known from accident investigations that something like 1% of the accidents are caused by various car related trouble. A british investigation found that 2% of all car accidents where caused in whole or part by the cars, they concluded that 1% was brake related issues and 1% was tire related issues. So accidents caused by cars are rare, and when it happens it is mostly related to brakes and tires.


We already covered this. Accident rates are not an accurate indicator of the incidence rate of sudden unintended acceleration, as in most cases the driver is able to get the car stopped without crashing into anything. Even so and needless to say, SUA is still an extremely dangerous condition that can easily result in death and injury. It would be just plain stupid to wave our hands and say the problem is acceptable based on the accident rates. Seriously, WTF.

#50 primer

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 19:15

Toyota to fix gas pedals on 4 mln vehicles




Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:48pm EST

* Toyota recall covers 4 mln vehicles, its largest ever

* Action goes beyond initial step involving floor mats

* Recall takes aim at runaway car risk after accidents (Updates with previous NHTSA, adds analyst comment)

DETROIT, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will fix the accelerator pedals in 4 million cars and trucks to address a safety issue linked to bursts of sudden acceleration and deadly accidents, the company and the U.S. government said on Wednesday.

The action, which represents the largest-ever U.S. safety recall by the Japanese automaker, aims to address the risk that floor mats in the vehicles can come loose and trap the accelerator pedal on some of Toyota's most popular models including the Camry and hybrid Prius.

Toyota had initially urged owners to remove floor mats in affected vehicles sold over the last six years.

But under the more sweeping and costly recall detailed on Wednesday, Toyota said it would reconfigure and replace accelerator pedals and take other steps after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Toyota said it would install a new brake override system on five models starting next year that will cut power to the engine when the brake pedal is applied even if the accelerator is also engaged.

On Camry and Avalon and Lexus ES350 models, the automaker will also reshape the floor of the vehicle to create more space under the accelerator pedal.

The massive recall represents a threat to Toyota's image for safety at a time when the automaker is struggling to return to profitability after being hit by an industry-wide sales slump and missteps tied to its own rapid expansion.

Earlier this month, the NHTSA rebuked Toyota for issuing "inaccurate and misleading information" after the automaker said "no defect exists" in cases where the floor mat was properly installed.

In fact, NHTSA said, it had concluded that the Toyota models covered by the recall had a "very serious defect" and simply replacing or removing the floor mats would not be enough.

"Toyota's reputation remains strong and consumers remain loyal, but data from independent studies increasingly show Toyota's quality is slipping," said IHS Global Insight analyst Aaron Bragman.

"Toyota had the aim of becoming General Motors for many years, and now it has many of the same problems that GM had, like overcapacity and quality issues," he said.

CALIFORNIA CRASH

The most immediate catalyst for the Toyota safety action was a crash that killed four people outside San Diego in August. In that incident, an off-duty California state trooper and three members of his family were killed in a crash when the Lexus ES350 he was driving accelerated out of control.

NHTSA said it had received reports of 100 incidents, including 17 crashes and five fatalities, possibly linked to floor mats and accelerator pedals.

Other estimates of the number of incidents of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles run higher.

ABC News said earlier this month that it had found reports of 16 deaths and more than 200 accidents linked to sudden acceleration.

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that it had found more than 1,000 instances of sudden acceleration reported by Toyota owners. The newspaper said its review of safety records concluded that unintended acceleration may have contributed to 19 fatalities in Lexus and Toyota vehicles.

Toyota said that starting in January drivers who bring their vehicles to Toyota dealerships will have their accelerator pedals cut from the bottom to create more space between the pedal and the floor mat.

From April, Toyota will have redesigned and shortened replacement accelerator pedals available at dealerships, said Toyota spokesman Irv Miller.

The company will also replace the floor mats in vehicles covered by the recall.

The recall covers Camry and Avalon sedans, the Prius and the Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks. Three Lexus models -- the ES350, IS250 and IS350 -- are also included.

Miller said the automaker has not estimated the cost of the safety action.

Toyota's investigators have ruled out problems with the electronic controls
in the affected vehicles as a cause in the episodes of sudden acceleration, Miller said.

"We are very, very confident that we have addressed this issue," said Miller.

The recall is the second in two days for Toyota. On Tuesday, the company said it would recall about 110,000 older model Tundra pickup trucks due to corrosion problems.



No changes for the cars sold in EU or other parts of the world. Only the pedals in US cars are/were defective.