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Toyota run-aways [not F-1]


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#151 Greg Locock

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 08:46

You can't tell from the shape of the gate on the tunnel whether an electronic shift will or will not allow you to select neutral on the move.

Far more importantly, the last two Dr Who actors have been good, and the scripts have been variable, but much better. The main story arcs have been superb, but in particular "Blink", which scarcely qualifies as a Dr Who story, was one of the best ghost stories I've ever seen on TV. "Girl in the mirror' was rather good as well.

Yeah I miss Leela. http://godardsletter...250px-leela.jpg Tragic innit?







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#152 Bill S

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 09:04

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Well much the same device works in pretty much every airliner for the last forty years. Pull the big red handle, the engine stops.
Simple is good.

#153 cheapracer

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 12:23

- but in particular "Blink", which scarcely qualifies as a Dr Who story, was one of the best ghost stories I've ever seen on TV.


I agree, "Blink" was absolutely brilliant and as you suggest even a bit scary and all without the Hollywood cliche crap. Cheap production too with a bunch of stills (trying not to give it away ;) ) - mind you you need a good director and editor to make it work.

Ahhh I spelled it Lela thats why I couldn't get a snap, Romana was great too especially her relationship with K9 but all next to Tom Baker seemed good, maybe he raised them too it?

Topic....

Talk about pulling plugs on planes is ok but Pilots are trained for their situations.

This has had an effect on at least one sale, I was seriously considering picking up a Camry next year and now I think I won't and whatever I decide on I will certainly check if it's under my control at all times or else "No"..

#154 imaginesix

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 00:16

Well much the same device works in pretty much every airliner for the last forty years. Pull the big red handle, the engine stops.
Simple is good.

Pilot's training is not simple.

#155 Bill S

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 00:52

Pilot's training is not simple.



The entire picture is not simple, for sure, but the fire drill certainly is.
Get a fire warning, pull the handle.
It's that simple.

#156 imaginesix

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 02:56

You're proposing a mandatory, standardized kill switch on all new cars and mandatory training and testing of drivers, existing and new. This is not simple, it is a bureaucratic nightmare. Especially since a "fire drill" already exists in driver's awareness; the ignition switch. Toyota's fault was in ignoring the value of this learned behaviour, and it so happens that it's value is equal to that of human lives.

Drivers knew enough to reach for the 'Start' button in place of the turning off the key, so there is some logical equivalence in people's minds between the old and new ignition methods. They just didn't know enough to hold the button for 3 seconds, an eternity in a panic situation.

#157 Bill S

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 05:00

You're proposing a mandatory, standardized kill switch on all new cars and mandatory training and testing of drivers, existing and new. This is not simple, it is a bureaucratic nightmare. Especially since a "fire drill" already exists in driver's awareness; the ignition switch. Toyota's fault was in ignoring the value of this learned behaviour, and it so happens that it's value is equal to that of human lives.

Drivers knew enough to reach for the 'Start' button in place of the turning off the key, so there is some logical equivalence in people's minds between the old and new ignition methods. They just didn't know enough to hold the button for 3 seconds, an eternity in a panic situation.


I don't disagree with any of that. It was just an idea that's pretty simple and would work for some people. I also never proposed any mandatory training.


#158 cheapracer

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 06:36

. They just didn't know enough to hold the button for 3 seconds, an eternity in a panic situation.


3 seconds is just insane, try it under controlled conditions and see what an eternity it is and they expect you to do so under extreme circumstance while negotiating traffic, obsticles etc ??

Ef'wits.


#159 gruntguru

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 08:40

3 seconds is just insane, try it under controlled conditions and see what an eternity it is and they expect you to do so under extreme circumstance while negotiating traffic, obsticles etc ??

Ef'wits.


At 120 mph, 3 secs is 176 yards - nearly two football fields!

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#160 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 09:32

If you get all the way to 120mph before it dawns on you to press the emergency stop button...

#161 gruntguru

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 11:03

If you get all the way to 120mph before it dawns on you to press the emergency stop button...


As reportedly happened in the case of the Lexus. Although I believe he pressed it earlier but didn't know to press it for 3 seconds.

#162 slucas

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:57

Press the "start" button to turn it off.
I can't quite put my finger on it but that rings a bell.
hmmm...

#163 Slartibartfast

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 14:02

New Car Dealer Training Event, genuine question and answer:

"So what happens when the little brat darling goes "What's this big red button do, daddy?" when you're on the motorway?"
"It has to be pressed for three seconds, so don't worry, inquisitive fingers or an accidental press are not going to leave you without power at 90mph."

The trick is to solve one problem without creating another.

#164 Tony Matthews

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 15:07

The trick is to solve one problem without creating another.


Come, friendly shingle, and arrest my wild flight, embrace me in your gritty dampness, untill the coming night...

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#165 Dragonfly

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 17:08

Press the "start" button to turn it off.
I can't quite put my finger on it but that rings a bell.
hmmm...

I have always claimed that MS Windows is a plague which damage people's brains.

For many decades people used to turn a key on to start the engine and off to stop it. Now, in the chase for the potential buyers, there are a variety of gizmos, which do the same, but in an unnecessary complicated way IMO. Buttons, wireless "keys", cards, etc. All for the fake impression of technological advance and computer game-like environment. But a car is a kind of a weapon. Which can kill you and kill innocent people around. Basic controls should be unified.
If it goes this way, the world standard institutions must impose an unified emergency stop, which every driver must learn how to operate during his training.
So many things can go wrong. I am dealing with computers since 1985 and I'll never trust them.

#166 desmo

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 20:24

Those start buttons seem to me pure gimmickry and nothing more. The key ignition switch wasn't something that ever needed to be improved upon.

#167 Greg Locock

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 22:01

Well, I've driven one of the Toyotas with the keyless entry/start button system and actually I thought it was pretty neat. Being able to walk up to your car and have it unlock automatically is nice and occasionally useful.

Once you've done that you hardly want to start looking for the key to start the engine. Of course an obvious solution is to put a knob wehre the ignition key used to go, that works in the same way.

So I think it is all driven by clinicing and showroom appeal, and they need to take their FMEA seriously.




#168 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 00:33

Those start buttons seem to me pure gimmickry and nothing more. The key ignition switch wasn't something that ever needed to be improved upon.

The key in the ignition strikes me as a safety hazard, although not a potentially fatal one. In my car, the key is pretty close to where my right knee is most of the time. In a serious accident, my right knee would most likely get seriously messed up by that protruding key.

#169 J. Edlund

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 00:49

I have always claimed that MS Windows is a plague which damage people's brains.

For many decades people used to turn a key on to start the engine and off to stop it. Now, in the chase for the potential buyers, there are a variety of gizmos, which do the same, but in an unnecessary complicated way IMO. Buttons, wireless "keys", cards, etc. All for the fake impression of technological advance and computer game-like environment. But a car is a kind of a weapon. Which can kill you and kill innocent people around. Basic controls should be unified.
If it goes this way, the world standard institutions must impose an unified emergency stop, which every driver must learn how to operate during his training.
So many things can go wrong. I am dealing with computers since 1985 and I'll never trust them.


Yes, open the cardoor after it unlocks itself, get into the car and press a button that says 'Engine Start/Stop' is certainly complicated. I don't know how people manage it!

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The ignition keys haven't served a real function since the introduction of immobilizers anyway.

#170 cheapracer

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 02:13

New Car Dealer Training Event, genuine question and answer:

"So what happens when the little brat darling goes "What's this big red button do, daddy?" when you're on the motorway?"
"It has to be pressed for three seconds, so don't worry, inquisitive fingers or an accidental press are not going to leave you without power at 90mph."

The trick is to solve one problem without creating another.


The question is then raised of how Johnny got to be able to reach the button in the first place, yar in deep shit in Oz if a Policeman notices that Johnny is loose in the car but I can't speak for the US.

Anything goes in China, 3 kids will be standing up through the sunroof on the freeway or 10 workers in the back of a truck etc....but as we say here "TIC" (this is China)


#171 imaginesix

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 03:23

Yes, open the cardoor after it unlocks itself, get into the car and press a button that says 'Engine Start/Stop' is certainly complicated. I don't know how people manage it!

Are you sure you don't also have to press the brake pedal? Ooopsie. Do you press and hold the button until the engine fires? If not, how long will it continue to crank before giving up? Is there a way to stop it from cranking once it has begun? If you walk away from the vehicle with the transponder key, will the engine stop during crank or while in operation? Will the doors lock themselves behind you? What about if someone else inside tries to drive away at that point, will the engine cut out? If they just want to get out of the car at that point, can they unlock the doors from inside? Will it set off the alarm? Is there a steering interlock mechanism with this type of ignition system, and what what scenarios engage or disengage it? What about electrical accessories, do they all become 'hot' when the transponder key is in vicinity? What if the key holder doesn't want the accessory systems to be operational while he's in the car?

Oh yeah, and how do you shut off the engine while in motion? And most significantly, how do any of the steps required to perform some of these potentially life-threatening functions relate to anything we already know about operating doors/locks/ignitions/accessories on normal vehicles?

#172 cheapracer

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 05:09

How about simply opening the drivers door to kill the engine?

My Mazda pisses me off because I can't sit with my door open and listen to music without the warning 'beeper' going so the computer's awarness is already in place.

#173 saudoso

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:45

Are you sure you don't also have to press the brake pedal? Ooopsie. Do you press and hold the button until the engine fires? If not, how long will it continue to crank before giving up? Is there a way to stop it from cranking once it has begun? If you walk away from the vehicle with the transponder key, will the engine stop during crank or while in operation? Will the doors lock themselves behind you? What about if someone else inside tries to drive away at that point, will the engine cut out? If they just want to get out of the car at that point, can they unlock the doors from inside? Will it set off the alarm? Is there a steering interlock mechanism with this type of ignition system, and what what scenarios engage or disengage it? What about electrical accessories, do they all become 'hot' when the transponder key is in vicinity? What if the key holder doesn't want the accessory systems to be operational while he's in the car?

Oh yeah, and how do you shut off the engine while in motion? And most significantly, how do any of the steps required to perform some of these potentially life-threatening functions relate to anything we already know about operating doors/locks/ignitions/accessories on normal vehicles?


Hehe, most of these questions get a wrong answer with a key operated A-Class MB my wife used to drive. Self locking, non stop cranking and all.


#174 Slartibartfast

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 12:33

Are you sure you don't also have to press the brake pedal? Ooopsie. Do you press and hold the button until the engine fires? If not, how long will it continue to crank before giving up? Is there a way to stop it from cranking once it has begun? If you walk away from the vehicle with the transponder key, will the engine stop during crank or while in operation? Will the doors lock themselves behind you? What about if someone else inside tries to drive away at that point, will the engine cut out? If they just want to get out of the car at that point, can they unlock the doors from inside? Will it set off the alarm? Is there a steering interlock mechanism with this type of ignition system, and what what scenarios engage or disengage it? What about electrical accessories, do they all become 'hot' when the transponder key is in vicinity? What if the key holder doesn't want the accessory systems to be operational while he's in the car?

Oh yeah, and how do you shut off the engine while in motion? And most significantly, how do any of the steps required to perform some of these potentially life-threatening functions relate to anything we already know about operating doors/locks/ignitions/accessories on normal vehicles?


The answer to most of those questions varies by manufacturer and country, regardless of whether the vehicle is key/keyless operation. In some cases, if you ask a manufacturer's representative, the answer may even be "Whichever way you want it to work, sir."

There is a lot to be said for standardisation of vehicle controls, but we haven't had it in the past, we don't have it now and I doubt we will have it in the future.

There are four vehicles sitting outside my house right now. Two are manual, two are automatic. Reverse gear is in a different place in the two manuals, and one requires a collar be lifted to access reverse, while the other does not. One vehicle has it's indicator on the opposite side to the other three. Two vehicles have headlight switches on stalks, two on dash-mounted rotary switches. There are two different methods of selecting main-beam/dipped-beam. One vehicle automatically engages the central-locking when it starts moving. Of course, it would be far too easy if all four ran on the same fuel, with the filler-caps all in the same place.
"Why won't the CD fit in the slot?"
"That's a cassette-player."
"So where does the CD go?"
"Under the seat. No, sorry, in the boot. No, hang on I've forgotten. Now I remember! There isn't one, you're just going to have to put up with Terry Wogan!"

Don't get me started on Mercedes and their electronic parking brake. "Where the Hell have they put the sodding thing in this model?" (Source - Slartibartfast, 2008, having just climbed out of one M-B and into another.)


#175 Tony Matthews

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 12:48

The answer to most of those questions varies by manufacturer and country

Your post very neatly sums up the available variety of control design and ergonomics!

#176 imaginesix

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 15:46


The answer to most of those questions varies by manufacturer and country, regardless of whether the vehicle is key/keyless operation. In some cases, if you ask a manufacturer's representative, the answer may even be "Whichever way you want it to work, sir."

That's not true. Let's look at the same questions again as they apply to vehicles equipped with a traditional lock cylinder;

Are you sure you don't also have to press the brake pedal? You don't, you only have to press the clutch for manual transmission cars - This is always the same.
Do you press and hold the button until the engine fires? Yes, the starter cranks as long as the key is turned to 'Start'. - Always.
If not, how long will it continue to crank before giving up? Does not apply.
Is there a way to stop it from cranking once it has begun? Release the key. - Always.
If you walk away from the vehicle with the transponder key, will the engine stop during crank or while in operation? Yes, removing the key stops the engine. - Always.
Will the doors lock themselves behind you? No, the key or key fob must be used to lock the doors behind you. - Always.
What about if someone else inside tries to drive away at that point, will the engine cut out? The car can not be driven without the key in the ignition - Always.
If they just want to get out of the car at that point, can they unlock the doors from inside? This may vary by vehicle and security option settings.
Will it set off the alarm? This also varies by vehicle / settings.
Is there a steering interlock mechanism with this type of ignition system? Yes, the ignition key. - Always.
What scenarios engage or disengage it? Turning the key to 'Off' engages it, wiggling the steering wheel while turning the key past 'Off' disengages it. - Always.
What about electrical accessories, do they all become 'hot' when the transponder key is in vicinity? Accessories are 'hot' when the key is in the 'Acc' position. - Always.
What if the key holder doesn't want the accessory systems to be operational while he's in the car? Then he can avoid putting the key in the 'Acc' position. - Always.

Oh yeah, and how do you shut off the engine while in motion? You turn off the ****ing key. - Always


#177 Tony Matthews

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 15:56

Oh yeah, and how do you shut off the engine while in motion? You turn off the ****ing key. - Always

Always - even with keyless ignition.

#178 dosco

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 17:43

Oh yeah, and how do you shut off the engine while in motion? You turn off the ****ing key. - Always


Yeah, just ask the dead CHP guy and his dead family. Piece o'cake.

#179 dosco

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 17:46

You're proposing a mandatory, standardized kill switch on all new cars and mandatory training and testing of drivers, existing and new. This is not simple, it is a bureaucratic nightmare. Especially since a "fire drill" already exists in driver's awareness; the ignition switch. Toyota's fault was in ignoring the value of this learned behaviour, and it so happens that it's value is equal to that of human lives.

Drivers knew enough to reach for the 'Start' button in place of the turning off the key, so there is some logical equivalence in people's minds between the old and new ignition methods. They just didn't know enough to hold the button for 3 seconds, an eternity in a panic situation.


Why is it that any design requirements levied on car manufacturers turns into a whine-fest?






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#180 imaginesix

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 18:58

Always - even with keyless ignition.


Yeah, just ask the dead CHP guy and his dead family. Piece o'cake. ™

Edited by imaginesix, 11 December 2009 - 18:59.


#181 Slartibartfast

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 19:24

That's not true. Let's look at the same questions again as they apply to vehicles equipped with a traditional lock cylinder;

Are you sure you don't also have to press the brake pedal? You don't, you only have to press the clutch for manual transmission cars - This is always the same.
Do you press and hold the button until the engine fires? Yes, the starter cranks as long as the key is turned to 'Start'. - Always.
If not, how long will it continue to crank before giving up? Does not apply.
Is there a way to stop it from cranking once it has begun? Release the key. - Always.
If you walk away from the vehicle with the transponder key, will the engine stop during crank or while in operation? Yes, removing the key stops the engine. - Always.
Will the doors lock themselves behind you? No, the key or key fob must be used to lock the doors behind you. - Always.
What about if someone else inside tries to drive away at that point, will the engine cut out? The car can not be driven without the key in the ignition - Always.
If they just want to get out of the car at that point, can they unlock the doors from inside? This may vary by vehicle and security option settings.
Will it set off the alarm? This also varies by vehicle / settings.
Is there a steering interlock mechanism with this type of ignition system? Yes, the ignition key. - Always.
What scenarios engage or disengage it? Turning the key to 'Off' engages it, wiggling the steering wheel while turning the key past 'Off' disengages it. - Always.
What about electrical accessories, do they all become 'hot' when the transponder key is in vicinity? Accessories are 'hot' when the key is in the 'Acc' position. - Always.
What if the key holder doesn't want the accessory systems to be operational while he's in the car? Then he can avoid putting the key in the 'Acc' position. - Always.

Oh yeah, and how do you shut off the engine while in motion? You turn off the ****ing key. - Always


Can you explain to me the function of the 'glow-plug' lever that my old Merc had?
I had the procedure of 'turn the key, pull the lever half way, wait, pull the lever the rest of the way'. To kill the engine, 'push the lever all the way back in'. (More accurately, the procedure following 'wait' tended to be 'wait some more, then some more, swear at the glow-plug light and start the bloody thing anyway'.)
If a diesel engine starts burning oil (via a leak), how does turning the key stop the engine?
None of the vehicles I mentioned in my previous post require the clutch pedal be pressed to start. Obviously, two of them are autos and therefore don't have a clutch pedal. The other two need to be in neutral for a safe start, but do not have any form of safety interlock on the pedal.
I have once driven a people-carrier, whose manufacturer I don't recall (possibly Chrysler?). It was a manual. I sat in it, failing to get the engine to turn-over, for some time before discovering that I needed to have the brake pedal pressed.
The local joy-riders will happily tell that you do not always need the key to start a car.

Motor vehicles do not have immutable standards in their controls. I got into a brand new car a few months ago and discovered they had put the steering wheel on the wrong side!

I have also come to the conclusion that the 'hazard lights' are so-called after the situation that arises from trying to find the bloody things in a hurry. Where's the button today? In the centre of the dashboard? On the top of the steering column? On the transmission tunnel, next to the central locking? (Nice one BMW. Let's put the hazard lights on while I'm stationary on the motorway and the truck-driver bearing down on me is paying more attention to his mobile phone than to the road ahead. CLICK! Oh, good. Now I'm locked in. At least no opportunist thieves will be able to nick my laptop while 40 tons of frozen food shunts me down the road!)

In conclusion. If you ever meet a car with the windscreen wipers on in the dry, main-beams on in daylight and the horn blowing, it means 'Slartibartfast is intending to turn left'. If you ever see a hire car still sitting in the carpark three hours after it was signed out, it means Slartibartfast still hasn't worked out how to open the glove compartment to get at the manual.

To wander back on-topic briefly:
I notice that the unfortunate CHP officer was seemingly unable to select 'neutral'. My experience of automatics with 'manual-mode' is that they will only allow a ratio change when the engine is within the safe rev range. That said, I have been able to select 'neutral' while in motion, although I haven't tried changing to neutral under acceleration. Is it possible that the gearbox control unit sends a request that, in the case of SUA, is rejected or ignored by the engine control unit?

#182 saudoso

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 19:35

That's not true. Let's look at the same questions again as they apply to vehicles equipped with a traditional lock cylinder;
Do you press and hold the button until the engine fires? Yes, the starter cranks as long as the key is turned to 'Start'. - Always.
If not, how long will it continue to crank before giving up? Does not apply.
Is there a way to stop it from cranking once it has begun? Release the key. - Always.
Will the doors lock themselves behind you? No, the key or key fob must be used to lock the doors behind you. - Always.

Nope! 2001 MB A190:
Do you press and hold the button until the engine fires?
If not, how long will it continue to crank before giving up?
Is there a way to stop it from cranking once it has begun?

The key on that car will behave just like a start button. The thing will crank as long as it sees fit. Sometimes after long parked periods I have to remove the key after some seconds cranking.

Will the doors lock themselves behind you?
Yes, the doors will lock with the engine idling and no one in. Been there, done that.

Edited by saudoso, 11 December 2009 - 19:40.


#183 J. Edlund

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 21:10

That's not true. Let's look at the same questions again as they apply to vehicles equipped with a traditional lock cylinder;

Are you sure you don't also have to press the brake pedal? You don't, you only have to press the clutch for manual transmission cars - This is always the same.
Do you press and hold the button until the engine fires? Yes, the starter cranks as long as the key is turned to 'Start'. - Always.
If not, how long will it continue to crank before giving up? Does not apply.
Is there a way to stop it from cranking once it has begun? Release the key. - Always.
If you walk away from the vehicle with the transponder key, will the engine stop during crank or while in operation? Yes, removing the key stops the engine. - Always.
Will the doors lock themselves behind you? No, the key or key fob must be used to lock the doors behind you. - Always.
What about if someone else inside tries to drive away at that point, will the engine cut out? The car can not be driven without the key in the ignition - Always.
If they just want to get out of the car at that point, can they unlock the doors from inside? This may vary by vehicle and security option settings.
Will it set off the alarm? This also varies by vehicle / settings.
Is there a steering interlock mechanism with this type of ignition system? Yes, the ignition key. - Always.
What scenarios engage or disengage it? Turning the key to 'Off' engages it, wiggling the steering wheel while turning the key past 'Off' disengages it. - Always.
What about electrical accessories, do they all become 'hot' when the transponder key is in vicinity? Accessories are 'hot' when the key is in the 'Acc' position. - Always.
What if the key holder doesn't want the accessory systems to be operational while he's in the car? Then he can avoid putting the key in the 'Acc' position. - Always.

Oh yeah, and how do you shut off the engine while in motion? You turn off the ****ing key. - Always


Requirement to press the brake (automatic) or clutch (manual) is programmable, it can be setup the way you want it. I can start the car without pressing any pedal, I can even drive the car in first gear with the starter motor if I want to.

With a start button you usually just press the button and the car start. The engine start can also be delayed, which often is the case with hybrids. In that case the engine doesn't start until you drive away, which saves fuel. How long does the starter motor run in case the engine doesn't start? Well, how long do you want it to run? 10 seconds, 30 seconds? What if I want the starter motor to stop, well, press the start/stop button again.

With a passive start and entry system the engine will stop if the 'key' is a certain distance away from the car and the car can't normally be started if the 'key' is not within the car (there is internal and external antennas used to detect where the 'key' is). The locks can remain unlocked when the engine is running or they can be locked when the driver walks away. But don't forget that auto lock features exist with key equipped cars too. If the doors can be opened from the inside when the car is locked depend on model/market. US models can usually be opened from the inside with locked doors, EU models yes/no depending on option. This for both key and keyless cars.

Steering interlock or gear selector interlock is generally model dependant. Keyless cars usually have an electronic steering interlock similar to late cars with keyfobs, so nothing new here.

Can you shut off the engine while in motion? Yes, press the start/stop button and a command is sent to the ECU to turn the engine off. Cars with keys work the same way, the ECU itself will remain powered over a time delay relay.

The 'key' can also be used to identify a specific driver, and activate personal settings. Future systems will also use fingerprint readers for that purpose, while making it harder to steal the car.

Add an electronic parkingbrake and the car can engage/disengage the parkingbrake automatically, it can significantly reduce the risk for run aways when the car is stationary.

Yeah, just ask the dead CHP guy and his dead family. Piece o'cake. ™


This is why you should always familiarize yourself with the vehicle before you drive it. But if the car had been equipped with a smart brake system it wouldn't have been a problem at all.

#184 dosco

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 22:41

This is why you should always familiarize yourself with the vehicle before you drive it. But if the car had been equipped with a smart brake system it wouldn't have been a problem at all.


Technically I agree.

However I don't think someone is going to check to figure out how the "on/off" button works, they're going to assume that it shuts the engine off with a simple press of the switch. I think the problem lies with assumptions and expectations of performance based on how other vehciles function ... which is why an "e-stop" or some sort of standardization may be a good thing.

#185 imaginesix

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 01:11

This is why you should always familiarize yourself with the vehicle before you drive it. But if the car had been equipped with a smart brake system it wouldn't have been a problem at all.

This is true, but wouldn't you also agree that manufacturers should familiarize themselves with drivers before designing new systems? If they did, they would learn that in the real world drivers simply don't get to know the peculiarities of the car they're driving. With rentals, sometimes that's impossible. That's why I am being so hard on Toyota here.

And thanks for the explanations, but that's kind of part of my point. For the past few decades there wouldn't have been any need to go into such detail about how to operate these essential systems.

Edited by imaginesix, 12 December 2009 - 01:13.


#186 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 03:53

This is true, but wouldn't you also agree that manufacturers should familiarize themselves with drivers before designing new systems? If they did, they would learn that in the real world drivers simply don't get to know the peculiarities of the car they're driving. With rentals, sometimes that's impossible. That's why I am being so hard on Toyota here.


I don't think that ALL cars should have to be designed with the idea of possible rental learning curves in mind. Why not go after the company that decided this particular car was a good candidate for a rental/loaner?

#187 Canuck

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 04:22

Motorcycle controls have been pretty standardized for some time, at least the major ones, and so have cars, at least with respect to the clutch/brake/accelerator pedals - they're always in the same place.

#188 gruntguru

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 10:07

Motorcycle controls have been pretty standardized for some time, at least the major ones, and so have cars, at least with respect to the clutch/brake/accelerator pedals - they're always in the same place.

How about an un-named European motorcycle with a headlight switch that goes OFF-LOWBEAM-HIGHBEAM so when you dip the lights for an on-coming car that appears around the corner, don't do it too firmly or you end up seeing nothing but approaching headlights.

#189 Terry Walker

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 14:57

If you have to read a fat instruction manual before you can drive the bloody car, the designer has cocked up badly.

#190 Fat Boy

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 16:58

The question is then raised of how Johnny got to be able to reach the button in the first place, yar in deep shit in Oz if a Policeman notices that Johnny is loose in the car but I can't speak for the US.

Anything goes in China, 3 kids will be standing up through the sunroof on the freeway or 10 workers in the back of a truck etc....but as we say here "TIC" (this is China)


In the US, if you were pulled over for such an infraction a parent could probably expect an impromptu firing squad.

The last time I was in Mexico I saw a family of 5 on an old Honda 350 motorcycle. Dad driving, Toddler on the tank and Mom on back with an infant in each arm.

#191 imaginesix

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 17:14

I don't think that ALL cars should have to be designed with the idea of possible rental learning curves in mind. Why not go after the company that decided this particular car was a good candidate for a rental/loaner?

Hell yeah, not only cars, all consumer products should be designed for intuitive use. Apple has fairly proven the essential importance of that point.

#192 imaginesix

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 17:18

The last time I was in Mexico I saw a family of 5 on an old Honda 350 motorcycle. Dad driving, Toddler on the tank and Mom on back with an infant in each arm.

That's nothing, if you had asked him he would have told you they were only along for the ride to serve as armour. :lol:

#193 J. Edlund

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 00:43

Technically I agree.

However I don't think someone is going to check to figure out how the "on/off" button works, they're going to assume that it shuts the engine off with a simple press of the switch. I think the problem lies with assumptions and expectations of performance based on how other vehciles function ... which is why an "e-stop" or some sort of standardization may be a good thing.


To press and hold a button to force a shutoff is not that uncommon these days, both with cars and other electrical equipment such as computers. But it could be a good idea to standardize how the shut down should be forced so all cars work the same way; for instance press three times within 5 seconds or press and hold for 2 seconds. But this is something that probably must be forced on the manufacturers.

I don't think that ALL cars should have to be designed with the idea of possible rental learning curves in mind. Why not go after the company that decided this particular car was a good candidate for a rental/loaner?


With rental cars I think it's a good idea if the rental companies offer a short 'manual' of model specific information the user needs to know before he/she starts driving. 2 pages or something like that placed in the car in a way so that the user needs to remove it before driving.

#194 McGuire

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 02:35

To press and hold a button to force a shutoff is not that uncommon these days, both with cars and other electrical equipment such as computers. But it could be a good idea to standardize how the shut down should be forced so all cars work the same way; for instance press three times within 5 seconds or press and hold for 2 seconds. But this is something that probably must be forced on the manufacturers.


Oh hell no. I want the ability to turn off the ignition when I want to, which might be immediately. What if there is zero oil pressure, a massive fuel leak, or the car is on fire? You want me to push the button three times in five seconds? Shall I be doing this before, during, or after I am going for the fire extinguisher? Screw that. That is not a material improvement over the traditional ignition switch. That is a huge step backward. The principle here should be to give ultimate control to the operator, not the minimum we can get away with allowing him. WTF is that.

With rental cars I think it's a good idea if the rental companies offer a short 'manual' of model specific information the user needs to know before he/she starts driving. 2 pages or something like that placed in the car in a way so that the user needs to remove it before driving.


How about we build cars with controls that are simple, familiar, and intuitive enough that drivers don't require a two-page tutorial to get off the parking lot? That's good, elegant design. Our job as an industry is not to force human beings to adapt to the machine. That is an arrogant and self-absorbed approach to design. Our job is to adapt the machine to the human beings.

...for thirty years the car and home audio industries waged a competition to see how many rockers, buttons, and switches they could put on the faceplate, half of which served little to no meaningful purpose. Then Apple introduced the iPod and the market was changed forever. Human beings want to listen to music. Human beings don't want to play with buttons and switches. Audio engineers like to play with buttons and switches.











#195 Canuck

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 02:40

I like to play with my wife's buttons...

#196 desmo

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 03:04

Oh hell no. I want the ability to turn off the ignition when I want to, which might be immediately. What if there is zero oil pressure, a massive fuel leak, or the car is on fire? You want me to push the button three times in five seconds? Shall I be doing this before, during, or after I am going for the fire extinguisher? Screw that. That is not a material improvement over the traditional ignition switch. That is a huge step backward. The principle here should be to give ultimate control to the operator, not the minimum we can get away with allowing him. WTF is that.



How about we build cars with controls that are simple, familiar, and intuitive enough that drivers don't require a two-page tutorial to get off the parking lot? That's good, elegant design. Our job as an industry is not to force human beings to adapt to the machine. That is an arrogant and self-absorbed approach to design. Our job is to adapt the machine to the human beings.

...for thirty years the car and home audio industries waged a competition to see how many rockers, buttons, and switches they could put on the faceplate, half of which served little to no meaningful purpose. Then Apple introduced the iPod and the market was changed forever. Human beings want to listen to music. Human beings don't want to play with buttons and switches. Audio engineers like to play with buttons and switches.


Someone gets it.


#197 Grumbles

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 03:09

How about we build cars with controls that are simple, familiar, and intuitive enough that drivers don't require a two-page tutorial to get off the parking lot? That's good, elegant design. Our job as an industry is not to force human beings to adapt to the machine. That is an arrogant and self-absorbed approach to design. Our job is to adapt the machine to the human beings.

...for thirty years the car and home audio industries waged a competition to see how many rockers, buttons, and switches they could put on the faceplate, half of which served little to no meaningful purpose. Then Apple introduced the iPod and the market was changed forever. Human beings want to listen to music. Human beings don't want to play with buttons and switches. Audio engineers like to play with buttons and switches.


On the whole I think most devices have improved tremendously over the last few decades. But I'm not sure that the human interface has improved in every case. And while I agree that ordinary humans don't want to be confronted with a mass of switches I tend to think that a small number of well laid-out controls are more intuitive than a single control with a multitude of functions. Take an old style TV for example; it had an on-off switch and a volume control, a channel selector dial that went THUNK, and possibly a brightness knob. Anything else was hidden round the back, and pretty much anybody could operate anyone elses TV without giving it a thought. Now every time we get a new TV or whatever it takes me a while to get the hang of it and it's not just cos I'm old and senile; my kids don't always "get it" straight away either. I think part of the problem is that the more expensive hardware controls are being largely replaced by much cheaper software and push buttons to scroll through a zillion options.
I know it's not practical to use a dedicated hardware control for each function of the complex devices of today, but the switch that starts and stops a car should be just like that old channel selector - as soon as you see it you know exactly what it does and how to make it do it. And it should behave exactly as expected.

#198 Tony Matthews

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 11:49

I like to play with my wife's buttons...

I bet you don't turn the volume up, though! ;)

#199 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 11:51

Having sold cheaper used cars for 30 years you soon get to know how basic a lot of drivers are. They cannot work out simple controls yet alone stupid illogical ones. And that is the clever people!
Having had Hyundia's back on a truck which will not start because they did not depress the clutch pedal says a lot, and that includes the road service bloke too. Not being able to work out the myriad of combinations to work the hi beam is another, and that has included me!
Having to push buttons for X amount of times or combinations to turn the engine off is ludicrous and bloody dangerous. Turning the key is simple though not foolproof because of the steering lock. That has killed people too though most have some sort of detent these days.
And ofcourse all this gimickry is bloody expensive to fix when it goes wrong which seemingly is often

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#200 Tony Matthews

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 11:53

Oh hell no.

Absolutely. Whatever happened to common sense?