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Airbrush

Toyota's Electronic Throttle Control (ETC)

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To keep it simple stupid, how about a simple mechanical failsafe device? The throttle cannot operate without the gas peddle being pushed down. If the throttle goes haywire and accelerates on it's own, the mechanical dampening device would detect that there is no pressure down on the gas peddle and thus disengage the throttle.

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I was reading up on the issues yesterday from several sources and I thought someone said Toyota trucks had some type of override and the cars did not. Please do not quote me on this. Your idea does appear to have merit to me.

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Presumably they do require input from the throttle, but since the input is electronic it can be perceived as being present when it's not. The override, if I'm not mistaken, is a separate system that cuts the throttle (regardless of input) whenever the brake is applied. A number of makers use this; Toyota apparently decided not to.

 

This really points to the need for greater driver education. None of these accidents would have occurred had the drivers in each case simply moved the shifter from Drive to Neutral. I heard a stunning audio recording on the news yesterday of a call to emergency 911 from a family of four that was riding in a runaway Toyota. The call apparently goes on for a couple of minutes and ends with them screaming about an upcoming intersection. All four were killed. It seemed to me like the driver had the presence of mind and the time to put the car into neutral.

 

Car & Driver has an interesting editorial on the subject which may be found here:

http://www.caranddriver.com/news/car/10q1/toyota_recall_scandal_media_circus_and_stupid_drivers-editorial

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"It seemed to me like the driver had the presence of mind and the time to put the car into neutral."

 

I heard testimony of a victim of a runaway throttle. She claimed she had both feet on the break, was pulling on the parking break, and could NOT shift out of drive into neutral. So something else may be happening.

 

"Every man, woman, and child in the U.S. has approximately a one-in-8000 chance of perishing in a car accident every year. Over a decade, that's about one in 800. Given the millions of cars included in the Toyota recalls and the fewer than 20 alleged deaths over the past decade, the alleged fatality rate is about one death per 200,000 recalled Toyotas. Even if all the alleged deaths really are resultant from vehicle defects—highly unlikely—and even if all the worst things people are speculating about Toyotas are true, and you're driving one, and you aren't smart or calm enough to shift to neutral if the thing surges, you're still approximately 250 times likelier to die in one of these cars for reasons having nothing to do with unintended acceleration."

 

Very interesting post Pangloss. Thanks for that!

Edited by Airbrush

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This is one of the reasons I like my older vehicle, all the linkages are are physical, I have a throttle cable and a physical brake connection, none of this drive-by-wire stuff.

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Don't shifts have some sort of protection so that you can't cause damage? Shifting into neutral with the engine accelerating you past 60 mph, is definitely going to cause some damage... can't let you do that, right?

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I thought all automatic gear boxes would always let you put it into neutral with the engine running; as the transmission is disengaged.

They have a mechanism to stop you putting it into park or reverse whilst moving forward.

I had a Hyundai Accent which had a similar problem. The engine management system would just open the taps for no reason and rev the engine to maximum.

I'd either push the clutch, to disengage the engine, or slip it in to neutral (With or without clutch)

Failing that, take the key out of the ignition and kill the engine.

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you could always drive something with a manual transmission.

 

or you know, learn how to operate the car you're driving.

 

i've had a problem with the engine racing without any of the electronic wizardry inside more expensive and modern cars anyway, the throttle valve got stuck. simple mechanical problem.

 

did i crash? no

did i bring it safely to a stop? yes

 

what magic did i use? the brake(and clutch).

 

EDIT: sorry got carried away and forgot to put my point in.

 

When i was learning(not so long ago) to drive. i was taught what to do in situations where something goes wrong with the car. nothing complex or fancy, just stuff that happens to be a common way for something to go wrong.

 

1/burst tire

2/engine cuts out

3/loss if power steering

4/engine races

5/loss of steering

6/loss of brakes

 

maybe i'm biased here but i thought that would have been a pretty standard lesson. if you can't handle something going wrong then you shouldn't be behind the wheel. fair enough the list covered isn't exhaustive but covering those gets you techniques for the major ones and they can be applied to other modes of failure leaving you prepared to stop the car safely incase of a breakdown.

Edited by insane_alien

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The problem is most people, myself included, are never taught how to control an out-of-control car in potentially disasterous situations. Maybe that should be a periodic (every 5 or 10 years) refresher course for every licensed driver? Someone takes you through a controlled safety course to experience skidding and losing control in various hazards.

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Or part of the initial driver's education course at all. I don't know about many other states, but I was not required to remember "shift into neutral" and so on in my course.

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I'm pretty sure you can just turn off the car. Most cars will not let you switch the key all the way off, but to the point where the cars controller will shut off and any car powering devices. Of course I would suggest attempting to put it into neutral first.

 

The only way that the electronic throttle control will go haywire would be a error in its control strategy (the electrical signals that get sent to the actual device), which is why the car should be recalled. Or a short in the actual electrical wiring, which is unlikely, but can also happen, causing what is supposed to be a potentiometer, to be a resistance that corresponds to a certain acceleration read by the controller.

 

But, nonetheless, there are usually manual methods around this.

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The latest on run-away Toyotas. A 2008 Prius took off after the driver said he "pressed real hard on the gas peddle to pass another car" (or something like that). Then his gas peddle felt strange and the car accelerated to 80 even though he had both feet on the break and even pulled back on the gas peddle with one hand.

 

He never mentioned trying to shift into neutral, until questioned about it. He said he couldn't shift into neutral because he had to keep both hands on the wheel to stear around obstacles in his path. How was he able to pull back the gas peddle, and not able to move his right hand only 6 inches to the right and glance at the shift lever and shift into neutral?!! Anyhow, I'm glad it wasn't me.

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Good question. Anyone have a 2008 Prius? What happens in most cars when you shift into neutral from a high speed?

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I heard a stunning audio recording on the news yesterday of a call to emergency 911 from a family of four that was riding in a runaway Toyota. The call apparently goes on for a couple of minutes and ends with them screaming about an upcoming intersection.

" All four were killed."

It seemed to me like the driver had the presence of mind and the time to put the car into neutral.

 

 

is it bad that i read that, and thought to my self "YES!"?>:D

 

Im going to go to hell, i know it.

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Good question. Anyone have a 2008 Prius? What happens in most cars when you shift into neutral from a high speed?

 

I've done this in a few 90's series cars, the only thing that happened was a loss of forward acceleration due to fuel injection - however, if I remember correctly, it doesn't work with my '99 cavalier (although I may not have tried it yet, I'll get back on this one)

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however, if I remember correctly, it doesn't work with my '99 cavalier (although I may not have tried it yet, I'll get back on this one)

 

seems like i should get a toyota car just so i have an excuse to drive fast

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Another reason to drive manual IMO.

On a really cold day one year my old Mazda truck (a TRUE Mazda truck, not a Ford-based shame) was stuck at a very high idle. Still drove perfectly fine and the accelerator cable unstuck after a few kilometers.

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manual is also more fuel efficient, makes it easier to drive up and down hills, and is bloody easy anyway.

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its also good for towing stuff as well and driving on ice. sometimes you WANT it to be in a lower or higher gear than it usually would be.

 

basically you get more control and efficiency for less.

 

then again there are some morons who haven't figured it out(i'm looking at you USA)

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its also good for towing stuff as well and driving on ice. sometimes you WANT it to be in a lower or higher gear than it usually would be.

 

basically you get more control and efficiency for less.

 

then again there are some morons who haven't figured it out(i'm looking at you USA)

 

Hey man, I live in the United States and I drive a stick, but automatic can be nice for 4x4 in extreme situations, of course depending on the type of automatic transmission you have. I still prefer a stick, but if four wheeling in the desert, one can go through a clutch quick on a hot day if just putting through the dunes.

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what kind of vehicle are you jumping off dunes with?

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(emphasis added)

 

The Three Laws of Robotics

 

1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

 

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

 

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

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