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Toyota run-aways [not F-1]


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#51 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 19:20

But to be fair often US versions of cars are slightly different from the international versions.



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#52 desmo

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 20:42

Seems a little unlikely the accelerator pedals would be different.

#53 ray b

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 21:15

has any one seen data dumped from a runaway car ????????????
ECU/CPU should store data and be a BIG clue as to why this is happening

#54 mariner

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 02:48

The latest from Toyota ,

http://www.freep.com...alls-gas-pedals

#55 bobqzzi

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 02:37

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.



The reported failure modes were not possibly attributable to mechanical failure -as you say, no mechanical explanation was ever found since virtually all complaintants insisteted that they were holding the brake down as hard as they could and the car still continued to accelerate. This is absolutely beyond the mechanically bounds of any car produced at the time.

#56 primer

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 02:49

Even if the car would not stop, pressing hard on the brake pedal will lead to a deceleration which can be easily felt (no need to look at speedometer).

#57 McGuire

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 10:22

The reported failure modes were not possibly attributable to mechanical failure -as you say, no mechanical explanation was ever found since virtually all complaintants insisteted that they were holding the brake down as hard as they could and the car still continued to accelerate. This is absolutely beyond the mechanically bounds of any car produced at the time.


These are ordinary car owners, not vehicle dynamicists or trained stunt drivers, and they are in a state of panic. If you are about to drive through your garage door and/or over your grandmother, you might also imagine the vehicle is accelerating. Our job as an industry is not to sharpshoot customer issues, but to properly identify and fix them.

I've seen and experienced SUA. One moment you are placing the gear selector in Drive, and the next instant the engine is at near WOT and you are trying to stand on the brake pedal. In a driveway, building, or other enclosed areas it can indeed be scary. It is totally understandable to me that owners would report the incidents in the terms they use.


#58 McGuire

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 10:38

"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."

That's not entirely accurate. The company also reports that by January 2010 all current models from the manufacturer will be switched over to "smart throttle" -- i.e., upon significant brake application, the throttle is commanded closed.


#59 Catalina Park

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 05:49

The trucks that I drive have electronic throttle and gearbox controls. If my throttle sticks I will be 100% certain that it is not the floormat causing it and it will be the result of a mixed signal to the motor. These trucks operate in a bad environment with dust and moisture getting into connections.
During the week one of the trucks got stuck in 4th gear and it would only release 4th gear after turning the key off and shutting the motor down (turning the key will not stop the motor straight away, it has a turbo timer so you have to hit a stop button as well) The problem was in a plug on the wiring harness from the computer to the gearbox. Remove the plug squirt it with WD40 and plug it back in and it is back to normal. The gearbox does funny things when the plug gets dirty. They may lock in a gear or they may change back to 1st gear (fun on the freeway!)

These truck also have a minor problem with the throttle and cruise control. They use the cruise control to raise the engine revs while the truck is loading (it is a concrete mixer) The cruise control works as a hand throttle when the truck in in neutral. But due to a glitch they sometimes rev up when the gearbox is in drive.... This can be a minor problem if the driver parks the truck but forgets to push the "N" button. The driver then revs the motor with a remote control and the truck starts to slowly drive across the yard with the parking brake straining to hold it. :eek:

There was a run away Toyota in town a couple of weeks back. It was a Corolla with an elderly lady reversing out a driveway. I guess she hit the wrong pedal but who knows for sure. She went backwards across a wide road including a wide median strip missing some trees before embedding the car in the front of a 150 year old building. She and her passenger were both ok but very shaken. The bloke sitting at his desk in the building was also shaken but unhurt.
Lots of people will jump to the conclusion that the lady hit the wrong pedal. That may be true but the question then is "why did she hit the wrong pedal?" and how can this be prevented in future. I doubt that cutting the bottom off the throttle pedal will do much in this case.

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#60 Tony Matthews

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 09:06

I doubt that cutting the bottom off the throttle pedal will do much in this case.

Cut the top off, too! Old people, don't you just love 'em...

#61 cheapracer

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 11:57

Even if the car would not stop, pressing hard on the brake pedal will lead to a deceleration which can be easily felt (no need to look at speedometer).


Get out on a freeway and try it for yourself and see how long the brakes last - dont forget the V8 at full noise and auto selecting the right gear against the load while your at it.


#62 primer

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 12:25

Get out on a freeway and try it for yourself and see how long the brakes last - dont forget the V8 at full noise and auto selecting the right gear against the load while your at it.


No, the brakes might not last, and the car might not come to a complete stop. But if I survive the ordeal and file an accident report I will be able to say: the car slowed down on pressing the brake pedal, but the revs stayed high. Quite unlike the people who insist that they pressed the brake pedal, repeatedly, hard as they can (I'm giving her all she's got, captain!), but the car never slowed down and 'just' kept accelerating.

Which pedal were they pressing? I once came with an inch of crashing into another car (slowish speeds, still), because I had just gotten into a car I hadn't driven previously, and when I pressed on the brake pedal my foot found the floormat. 80-180bpm in 0.10 seconds. My fourth desperate stab between the accelerator and clutch found the brake pedal. Lesson was learnt, and now I apply the brakes once or twice at low speeds when starting on a type of car I've not driven earlier.

At any speed and any rev, when you first stand on the brakes you will feel deceleration. This deceleration will not be as pronounced with engine going full chat, but it should be observable. None of these anecdotal runaway cars have brake-by-wire either (Mercedes-Bosch experiment with E class saw to it), so how can you stand on the brake pedal and yet have the car accelerate out of control? Seems like a dual failure then: throttle stuck wide open and a brake failure.

Edited by primer, 28 November 2009 - 12:38.


#63 McGuire

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 12:40

Get out on a freeway and try it for yourself and see how long the brakes last - dont forget the V8 at full noise and auto selecting the right gear against the load while your at it.


Yep. The rotors and pads can take tremendous abuse without totally coming apart, but once the brake fluid starts boiling you're screwed. If you are dealt a hand like the above CHP officer allegedly was -- can't select neutral or turn off the ignition -- you probably have one good shot to get the car stopped with the brakes, and you had better not hesitate or waffle. You must stand on the pedal as hard as you can and not let up until the car is stopped. And at that point you will need something to nose the car into, like a wall or a guard rail.


The CHP officer's case does not appear to be isolated. Apparently, there are over a dozen reported cases that are very similar except the driver stood on the brakes or the problem suddenly disappeared before tragedy ensued. The manufacturer needs to get its hands on those cars. Give the owners brand new cars, whatever it takes. Those units are literally priceless in getting to the bottom of the issue. I can't believe the cars are still out there.



#64 Catalina Park

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 12:43

On some vehicles the brakes will not stop a car with a stuck throttle. It may slow it down a little till the brakes burn out but it will not stop it. If you were doing 100kph/60mph when the throttle stuck wide there is a very good chance that with enough horsepower pushing you it would not stop by brakes alone.

On the trucks that I drive I could run out of brakes just by driving down a mountain pass and leaving it in Drive and not use the throttle at all. The fact that I can get down the mountain without using the brakes at all shows why I am on the big money. :drunk:

#65 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 16:07

Ive seen 'top' road cars taken for laps of race tracks and their brakes are done after a few laps of a place like Road America. And a few laps is being generous. And that's with the throttle pedal released during the brake zone, so how do you think you'll do if you add more force against the brakes beyond just the weight of the vehicle? Road car brakes are generally good for one extreme stop at a time, enough to avoid an accident, which takes place in maybe three seconds? I imagine most cars would have 'lost' their brakes by the time they get anywhere near a pace that would allow you to even jump out of the vehicle because it's going to take a while to slow down a car that is at anything over 50% throttle.

#66 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 16:13

On some vehicles the brakes will not stop a car with a stuck throttle. It may slow it down a little till the brakes burn out but it will not stop it. If you were doing 100kph/60mph when the throttle stuck wide there is a very good chance that with enough horsepower pushing you it would not stop by brakes alone.

On the trucks that I drive I could run out of brakes just by driving down a mountain pass and leaving it in Drive and not use the throttle at all. The fact that I can get down the mountain without using the brakes at all shows why I am on the big money. :drunk:


Don't injure your arm patting yourself on the back there, buddy!

:rotfl:



#67 bobqzzi

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 20:41

On some vehicles the brakes will not stop a car with a stuck throttle. It may slow it down a little till the brakes burn out but it will not stop it. If you were doing 100kph/60mph when the throttle stuck wide there is a very good chance that with enough horsepower pushing you it would not stop by brakes alone.

On the trucks that I drive I could run out of brakes just by driving down a mountain pass and leaving it in Drive and not use the throttle at all. The fact that I can get down the mountain without using the brakes at all shows why I am on the big money. :drunk:



Car and Driver did tests back during the Audi debacle in which they recorded 60-0 distances with closed and open throttle and the difference in distance was fairly small (20% ish if I recall correctly).

#68 bobqzzi

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 21:35

These are ordinary car owners, not vehicle dynamicists or trained stunt drivers, and they are in a state of panic. If you are about to drive through your garage door and/or over your grandmother, you might also imagine the vehicle is accelerating. Our job as an industry is not to sharpshoot customer issues, but to properly identify and fix them.

I've seen and experienced SUA. One moment you are placing the gear selector in Drive, and the next instant the engine is at near WOT and you are trying to stand on the brake pedal. In a driveway, building, or other enclosed areas it can indeed be scary. It is totally understandable to me that owners would report the incidents in the terms they use.


Yes, of course. But I was referring to the Audi situation in which there was never any physical evidence of a fault found- not ever. Further, if some says they had the brake mashed and the car accelerated through their garage, they are obviously mistaken about having pushed on the brake pedal. Quite simply the engine at WOT could not overpower the brakes. and they fact that they all reported pressing hard on a pedal seem to indicate that they were mashing the throttle.

You are certainly right that it is not reasonable to expect any driving expertise from the consumer and that it is best to make cars as failsafe as possible. I don't know if there is really some sort of fault in the Toyota beyond the floormat or not. I certainly would take consumer descriptions of such failures with a grain of salt- much like the "I was just driving along" stories we have all gotten as mechanics- "I was just driving along when the tranny blew up" and then you'd find the melted tire goo in the fender well.

Back around 1980 I worked as a rental car cleanup guy so my job was to wash and clean them. This was a small company and our small lot would often be covered with ice during the winter from the wash water. These were the last days of the carburetor when cars never ran right for long, and we rented some GM vehicles. During the winter when you started these they would race to a high idle of (I'm guessing, no tach) 1500-2000 rpm. The first time I had one on the ice, I was surprised to find that with the brake fully depressed, when I pulled it into gear the rear tire(s) would start to spin madly and even though the fronts would remain locked, there was enough forward force to push the car slowly across the yard toward the garage. Very unsettling to say the least! I shut the car off rather than risk destroying the tranny by putting it in park. After that I would either let them warm up enough to come off high idle or practice donuts across the lot(hey, I was 18ish). I could see someone panicking and hitting the garage (albeit at 5mph) but that was pretty specialized case on glare ice in a badly designed car.

#69 McGuire

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 23:28

Car and Driver did tests back during the Audi debacle in which they recorded 60-0 distances with closed and open throttle and the difference in distance was fairly small (20% ish if I recall correctly).


Sure, and that is not terribly relevant here. The test rationale presupposes that when the acceleration occurs at 60 mph, the driver will instantly recognize that he is experiencing a case of SUA and immediately stand on the brake pedal. That is not what drivers do, including you. If you are driving the model of vehicle in question and the throttle goes wide open at 60 mph on the highway, you will be doing 70 or 80 before you fully grasp what is happening. Then you will start working the gear selector and/or ignition switch, jiggling the throttle with your foot, etc, while also riding the brake pedal to control the car's speed. Meanwhile, if none of these gambits are successful, the car is either accelerating and/or rapidly using up its brakes. Unless you were actually anticipating the SUA, you would never have the presence of mind to do what needs to be done: stand on the brakes as hard as you can and get stopped as fast as you can.

It is readily apparent from the NHTSA report of the CHP officer's crash that the brakes were used up by the time of impact. As this photo shows, the brakes were heated well past the boiling point of OE brake fluid (<500 C). What is a possible chain of events in which this would come to pass?

Posted Image

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



#70 cheapracer

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:30

Car and Driver did tests back during the Audi debacle in which they recorded 60-0 distances with closed and open throttle and the difference in distance was fairly small (20% ish if I recall correctly).


I'm sure they 'slammed' their foot on the brakes with the instantanious 'grab' overcoming the engine, at least the fronts, but as Mac says this isn't how Joe Smith goes about it.


Road car brakes are generally good for one extreme stop at a time, enough to avoid an accident, which takes place in maybe three seconds? I imagine most cars would have 'lost' their brakes by the time they get anywhere near a pace that would allow you to even jump out of the vehicle because it's going to take a while to slow down a car that is at anything over 50% throttle.


Driving too fast as I do on Chinese freeways shows this up daily, I sit on around 120 - 140 k's and the closing speed on some of the other vehicles can be as great as 100 k's - I get about 1-1/2 decent long stops after that I have to be very careful until they cool down again.

I'll take a video one day, you guys would be amused.

Of course it comes down to compromise brake pads, people want nice quiet, easy stopping at slow speeds in the suburbs and have clean wheels.

Edited by cheapracer, 29 November 2009 - 03:43.


#71 Catalina Park

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 08:11

Car and Driver did tests back during the Audi debacle in which they recorded 60-0 distances with closed and open throttle and the difference in distance was fairly small (20% ish if I recall correctly).

Try it with your own car and see how you go. Then try it at 70 or 75mph.

#72 gordmac

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 10:39

Remember with the throttle open there won't be any servo assistance for the brakes, I suspect a lot of people would struggle to stop their cars without the servo never mind with the engine pushing as well.

#73 Bill S

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 13:53

I'll take a video one day, you guys would be amused.


Been there, done that, being chafferred to/from the airport in Shanghai & Hangzhou.
Left indicator on and horn nearly on continuously. :)



Remember with the throttle open there won't be any servo assistance for the brakes, I suspect a lot of people would struggle to stop their cars without the servo never mind with the engine pushing as well.


The vacuum booster has a one-way valve, so you still get one or two good stops with assistance.

#74 McGuire

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 16:51

Of course it comes down to compromise brake pads, people want nice quiet, easy stopping at slow speeds in the suburbs and have clean wheels.


Brake pads with any chance of surviving the usage depicted here would be useless on the street. They won't work at all until they have some heat in them. I wouldn't blame consumers at all for not wanting such pads. Housewives shouldn't have to do a warmup lap on a side street before hitting the highway. Race pads don't belong on road cars. To get real benefit out of them the car will also need $30 per pint brake fluid, which is not sensible either.

...I am sorta scratching my head at the many attempts here to transfer blame for SUA to the car owners. WTF. SUA is an incredibly dangerous vehicle behavior, period. It really doesn't matter if the problem is a poorly designed throttle pedal, criticality of floor mat fitment, awkward or unconventional pedal spacing, an inscrutable software bug, or EMI generated by high-tension wires, etc and so on. You name it, it's still a screwup on the part of the manufacturer and it is ultimately responsible for the failure. Nobody else. For example, if you are building cars for which selecting an ordinary pair of floor mats is a life-or-death decision for your customers, those are some f**ked up cars you are building. Weak design, no way around it. And from my perspective there is a considerable arrogance in this whole deal. Sorry about your family but they installed non-approved floor mats.

#75 Canuck

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 20:13

Thank you. I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one seeing "it's the driver's fault" in some of these arguments. If I think about my 60 year old mother in one of these scenarios, I see a high probability of an accident and not a smooth outcome.

#76 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 02:43

if you are building cars for which selecting an ordinary pair of floor mats is a life-or-death decision for your customers, those are some f**ked up cars you are building. Weak design, no way around it.

qft

#77 primer

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 04:37

Data point to Toyota's throttles, not floor mats



Excerpts:

But Weiss is convinced his incident wasn't caused by a floor mat. He said he removed the mats in his truck months earlier on the advice of his Toyota dealer after his truck suddenly accelerated and rear-ended a BMW.

"The brakes squealed and the engine roared," the 52-year-old cabinet maker said of the most recent episode. "I don't want to drive the truck anymore, but I don't want anyone else to, either."


For some Toyota models, reports of unintended acceleration increased more than fivefold after drive-by-wire systems were adopted, according to the review of thousands of consumer complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Toyota first installed electronic throttles in 2002 model year Lexus ES and Camry sedans. Total complaints of sudden acceleration for the Lexus and Camry in the 2002-04 model years averaged 132 a year. That's up from an average of 26 annually for the 1999-2001 models, the Times review found.


"When the driver says they have their foot on the brake, they are just plain wrong," Schmidt said. "The human motor system is not perfect, and it doesn't always do what it is told."

To be sure, the complaints by Toyota and Lexus owners about sudden acceleration involve a tiny share of the company's vehicles on the road.

But runaway acceleration represents a high proportion of the complaints filed by consumers about Toyota in federal databases. For the 2007 Lexus ES sedan, for example, 74 of 132 complaints filed with NHTSA alleged sudden acceleration.



If eventually it is proven that there is more to this issue than just floormats (and pedal design), just how badly is Toyota's goose cooked? What a nightmare for them.

#78 desmo

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 06:52

I'd be curious to see a statistical breakdown of the age demographic of people reporting this. If it's happening the 30 year olds with the exact same frequency as 70 year olds, that'd add weight to the idea that the phenomenon is strictly a car issue.

#79 McGuire

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 10:44

When a manufacturer's SUA complaints run at many multiples of those for the rest of the industry, it's a "car issue." I reject the idea that if the cause is accessible enough for the customer to discern, it is then the customer's fault for not discerning it. The customer didn't put the throttle and brake pedals unusually close together, or place the throttle pedal close enough to the floor to trap a floor mat. The manufacturer built the cars that way.

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#80 McGuire

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 11:41

I'd be curious to see a statistical breakdown of the age demographic of people reporting this. If it's happening the 30 year olds with the exact same frequency as 70 year olds, that'd add weight to the idea that the phenomenon is strictly a car issue.


In reviewing the cases in public circulation, two things stick out for me.

1. It's not the floor mats.

2. Drivers are very poorly educated about how to stop a runaway car. The drivers below went for the so-called "emergency brake" before placing the gear selector in neutral or shutting off the ignition, which never occurred to them. This is incredible to me. Where do people get these ideas? Cars don't even have "emergency brakes." It's a parking brake. This doesn't absolve the manufacturer from its responsibility, but drivers have a responsibility to know how to operate their vehicles.

I tend to presume that most 70 year-olds are more competent than the drivers below. To me, these drivers have no more understanding of their vehicles than they would of an amusement-park ride. They're sitting in the drivers' seat, but they are not driving their vehicles. They seem to lack a basic understanding of what makes the car go or stop. The takeaway here is TALK to your friends and loved ones and MAKE SURE they know how to handle a car with a stuck throttle.

http://abcnews.go.co...ndex?id=8996722

http://abcnews.go.co...ndex?id=8995674

http://abcnews.go.co...ndex?id=8995644


#81 Tony Matthews

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 12:29

I tend to presume that most 70 year-olds are more competent than the drivers below. To me, these drivers have no more understanding of their vehicles than they would of an amusement-park ride. They're sitting in the drivers' seat, but they are not driving their vehicles. They seem to lack a basic understanding of what makes the car go or stop. The takeaway here is TALK to your friends and loved ones and MAKE SURE they know how to handle a car with a stuck throttle.

Apart from the, hopefully, small percentage of drivers who really do not understand how to operate their vehicle, their is a large percentage who just don't care - who never consider that something can go wrong, that someone else can put them in a compromising situation, or that they themselves can screw up. I am frequently dismayed by what I see on the road, and not just mobile phone use. It is the way of the world.

The UK still has a majority of manual gearbox cars - at least you can de-clutch if there is an engine runaway. The more complex machinery becomes, the more chance there is of something odd happening, in my experience.

#82 McGuire

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 13:06

I believe that with the ubiquity of automatic transmissions, powerful engines, power steering, power brakes, decent tires, etc and so forth, we have one or two generations of drivers with very little conception of what they are doing when they operate an automobile -- no sense or feel for the machine and how it actually works. (ABS and ESC being further extensions.) There is a go pedal and a stop-going pedal, and a steering wheel for pointing the thing, and that is the extent of their understanding of vehicle dynamics. So when something goes wrong they have very little understanding of what is happening -- or what to do about it. They also have very little conception of how much menace they take charge of when they get behind the wheel.

I am not arguing for more primitive cars but for better driver education. I learned to drive about 40 years ago with vehicles like an old truck with four bald tires, a worn clutch, and a leaking master cylinder. (Just stopping required a comprehensive plan.) By the time I was basically competent I had a pretty good feel for the beast I had under me, but that is just good luck due to being poor. Looking back, a sticking throttle would have been hard to distinguish, let alone diagnose. The truck's top speed was perhaps 65 mph on a good day. You could permanently place a concrete block on the throttle pedal and the vehicle's behavior would not be significantly altered.

#83 primer

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 14:25

IQ tests before issuing a driving license?
Death penalty for texting and driving?
No women drivers?

#84 Tony Matthews

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 14:37

I believe that with the ubiquity of automatic transmissions, powerful engines, power steering, power brakes, decent tires, etc and so forth, we have one or two generations of drivers with very little conception of what they are doing when they operate an automobile -- no sense or feel for the machine and how it actually works. (ABS and ESC being further extensions.) There is a go pedal and a stop-going pedal, and a steering wheel for pointing the thing, and that is the extent of their understanding of vehicle dynamics. So when something goes wrong they have very little understanding of what is happening -- or what to do about it. They also have very little conception of how much menace they take charge of when they get behind the wheel.

I am not arguing for more primitive cars but for better driver education. I learned to drive about 40 years ago with vehicles like an old truck with four bald tires, a worn clutch, and a leaking master cylinder. (Just stopping required a comprehensive plan.) By the time I was basically competent I had a pretty good feel for the beast I had under me, but that is just good luck due to being poor. Looking back, a sticking throttle would have been hard to distinguish, let alone diagnose. The truck's top speed was perhaps 65 mph on a good day. You could permanently place a concrete block on the throttle pedal and the vehicle's behavior would not be significantly altered.

:up: as per usual Mr McGuire

#85 McGuire

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 15:14

IQ tests before issuing a driving license?
Death penalty for texting and driving?
No women drivers?


In watching the above videos, it is very tempting to simply dismiss these drivers as idiots. That was my impulse, anyway. But hold on: These are otherwise intelligent, educated, and articulate people. They're not stupid. It's just that they display an astonishingly poor understanding of what those pedals on the floor and the lever on the console actually do -- what they are connected to, how they work. Apparently, so did the ABC news crews, as nobody (on camera, anyway) asked these drivers, "Er, why didn't you put the gear selector in neutral or shut off the ignition?"

The Prius case is especially amazing. Clearly, this woman is twice as smart as you or I and three times as socially responsible (she drives a Prius, after all) and yet when her car's throttle stuck open, she drove off the highway and down on off-ramp, all the way through a small town (!) with her brakes smoking the entire way, and finally into a creekbed where she finally stopped. No, manufacturers should not build cars that exhibit SUA. Serious problem that must be fixed, no excuses. But for the very same reason -- the safety of everyone on the highway -- this woman should not be allowed back on the road again until she can successfully explain and demonstrate what makes a car go and stop. I don't care if she has an IQ of 160 and a PhD in Particle Physics. This person is currently unqualified to drive an automobile.

#86 Canuck

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 19:22

This is a result of making it easier and easier both to manipulate a vehicle and to own one. The driver is so far removed from anything mechanical it's a wonder they aren't all in the category of "Uhm..what kind of car did I buy? Uhhhh...a blue one". Automakers have continued to insulate us both from the complexities of operation and the effects accidents because we seem to believe there should be no harm attached to piloting 4500lb vehicles at high velocity with coffee, cell phone and cigarette in hand. The less attention that is demanded of one to drive, they less they're likely to give it.

#87 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 19:53

The less attention that is demanded of one to drive, they less they're likely to give it.

Exactly.

I'll cop to something--I recently got a manual transmission car, only the second one I've owned in my life. I'm 34 and have owned maybe 1-2 dozen cars. I'd say I'm competent at driving a clutch car, not more or less (I've been a mechanic so I had to know how to drive a clutch).

It's a whole new (and fun) experience for me and it makes me realize how much more attention I need to pay to the car and what I'm doing, and I like it.

#88 desmo

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 21:49

New cars with auto, full climate control, 12 way electric powered everything and all the other gadgets are totally gay.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But they are.

#89 dosco

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 19:21

Excellent thread. I was wondering the same sorts of things when I heard the report of the CHP guy and his family in the Lexus.

A couple of thoughts come to mind:

1. I find it disappointing and appalling that Toyota is taking the "blame the customer" approach to their responsibility in this matter. I (perhaps foolishly) thought they were above that.

2. I agree that most car owners/operators have no idea how their machine works. This is not a good thing.

3. Regarding electronic components and CCAs, I work in the defense industry and I can attest to a variety of problems ... counterfeit parts, inaccurately rated components, problems with lead-free electronics, etc. When MIL-SPEC parts went away, many of these sorts of problems started to crop up. I see all kinds of failures ... no derating applied, no consideration for vibration and thermal stresses, no consideration for parts selection, use of lead-free solder that results in tin whiskers, etc. I agree with McGuire, if a CCA is bad it is virtually impossible to predict its behavior.

4. Since when do cars with automatic transmissions now have interlocks that prevent the operator from manipulating the gearshift lever? Unacceptable.

5. In my prior employment, one of my jobs was the design and fabrication of test rigs (and electronic controls). Every test rig had an e-stop that would kill the thing ... totally de-energize it by tripping the electrical breakers, releasing pressurized air, etc. We also set the rigs up so that if they failed, it would be "safely." I like the idea of an "e-stop" button (or a "T" handle) to kill the engine in a car ... why don't we have these? An e-stop should be compulsory in an automobile. Unacceptable.

6. Having designed primitive control systems for use with a Programmable Logic Controller, I can attest to the issue of bad control design and unanticipated behaviors. I had to learn by trial and error (I'm not a controls engineer), presumably the people doing this work for Toyota are properly educated and experienced in this field ...?

7. Murphy's Law ... military electronic systems go through extensive environmental testing that includes such things as EMI, EMP, etc. Actual weapons that go "boom" go through even more analysis and testing to ensure they only go "boom" when they're supposed to and not by accident. If car designers are going to increase their reliance on electronics, I would think/hope that their electronic systems would have to go through similar testing to prove they're capable of doing their job (although I would assume that the added expense would be rejected by the auto manufacturers or the cost passed on to the consumers).

Edited by dosco, 01 December 2009 - 19:24.


#90 Wuzak

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 21:23

Military aircraft electronic systems usually have multiple redundancies - do electronic throttle cars have redundant systems.



#91 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 22:26

Should sober cost-benefit analysis be of use at some point? I'm sure that electronic stuff like stability control save thousands of lives, and if that necessitates more fly-by-wire stuff that can occasionally go haywire, then maybe it's worth it. Of course, that doesn't mean that some easy stuff like an obvious kill switch or smart throttle shouldn't be in every car, that shouldn't cost much to implement without compromising those active safety systems.

#92 Greg Locock

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 22:51

CBA is routinely applied for safety improvements, and for other things as well.

Chances are the Lexus had shift by wire, so Neutral is just an outcome, not a discrete mechanical state of the whole system. The advantages in getting rid of the mechanical link are reasonably significant, from a vehicle program perspective.



#93 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 23:25

I'm sure it is. It just strikes me that all this pining about the good old days, when drivers were smart and cars were dumb, to be a massive over-reaction. Tens of thousands of people get killed every day in banal ways, something that modern automotive technology improves on constantly. The new flaw that kills a dozen people is not a great leap backwards in the grand scheme of things.

Edited by Dmitriy_Guller, 01 December 2009 - 23:28.


#94 Bill S

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 00:29

Military aircraft electronic systems usually have multiple redundancies - do electronic throttle cars have redundant systems.


Not sure about the current models, but my Toyota Corolla has a 2000 Altezza engine fitted and it's DBW. I'm not what it has in the way of redundancies/backup electronically, but it has a mechanical system that will let you get home if the stepper motor fails - Push the accelerator enough and the cable simply pulls the butterfly open, up to about 25% opening I think.

Posted Image

It's a bit odd with the gearbox in neutral; you can give the throttle a big poke and the revs only climb up lazily at best, but it's quite responsive when driving. I also get about 40mpg on the highway and that's pretty good for a ~150kW car. :)

</thread hijack> I too am disappointed at Toyota for trying to pass this off. I'm also thinking they're gradually losing their previous excellent quality and they don't seem to make interesting cars any more. No more turbo Supra's, No 4WD turbo Celica's, etc.

Edited by Pascal, 06 January 2011 - 09:24.


#95 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 00:50

Not sure about the current models, but my Toyota Corolla has a 2000 Altezza engine fitted and it's DBW. I'm not what it has in the way of redundancies/backup electronically, but it has a mechanical system that will let you get home if the stepper motor fails - Push the accelerator enough and the cable simply pulls the butterfly open, up to about 25% opening I think.


So they have a redundancy built in to make sure you can OPEN the throttle, but a redundancy to make sure you can close it? meh. too expensive, not worth it.

:rotfl:

#96 McGuire

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 00:52

CBA doesn't really apply here. There is no PVB to offset the PVC -- drive-by-throttle doesn't offer any potential benefit in lives saved that could balance the potential lives cost.

One could argue that ETC makes TC and ESC a bit cheaper/easier to do by eliminating redundant components, but that's about it. So here, essentially the benefit is to the manufacturer's bottom line while the cost is in potential death and injury for the consumers.

Many early ETC systems, including Toyota, included a mechanical throttle linkage along with the drive-by functions. There is nothing this system won't do that a pure ETC won't do; it just costs a bit more. (A cable and a bellcrank, essentially.) This is the redundancy or back-up some posters inquired about earlier. Another way to provide a redundancy is with "smart throttle," which returns the throttle to idle when the brake is applied. However, they are dependent on the same electronics that operate the throttle.

Edited by McGuire, 02 December 2009 - 00:57.


#97 saudoso

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 10:38

One question here: from ABC videos I see at least two different models. On big black sedan from the first guy and a blue egg shell from the second lady. So all Toyotas are now possessed, no matter the model?

Edited by saudoso, 02 December 2009 - 10:39.


#98 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 12:00

One question here: from ABC videos I see at least two different models. On big black sedan from the first guy and a blue egg shell from the second lady. So all Toyotas are now possessed, no matter the model?

I don't know if you knew this but mainstream (and really all) media in the USA work by a simple motto: Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

#99 McGuire

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 12:39

One question here: from ABC videos I see at least two different models. On big black sedan from the first guy and a blue egg shell from the second lady. So all Toyotas are now possessed, no matter the model?


The problem first surfaced on the Toyota Tacoma pickup some years ago (2002 if I recall) and has since spread to the Camry, Prius, and Lexus. The floor mat recall applies to eight different Toyota and Lexus models, and the gas pedal recall to seven, I think. On the Camry, Avalon, and Lexus ES, the recall also includes peeling back the carpet and replacing the padding with thinner material. Around four million vehicles, all told.




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#100 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 20:08

You know I just noticed some disturbing behavior in the cruise control system of my 99 Mazda Protege.

An input from the clutch or brake should toggle the cruise control function off. However I noticed that if I press in the clutch while I'm pressing down on the lever the signal is hidden, and when after I've down shifted I let up on the lever, the throttle engages!