http://me.stanford.edu/groups/design/automotive/images/LogoToyota.jpg

As someone who has been in software for over 30 years, I have to ask Toyota this question, “Have you ruled out the computer?” As I understand it, the cars in question are all “drive by wire” cars. Unlike the cars I drove as a teen where the gas pedal was connected to the carburetor with metal rods, these days the pedal is an input device that merely indicates to the car’s computer how fast the driver wishes to go. The computer is what directly controls the engine speed.

Even if the gas pedal was actually sticking, the computer could be programmed to detect a faulty pedal and shut down the engine automatically upon fault detection. Such software would be trivial to implement and could save lives until the real problem is determined. However there seems to be evidence of cases that defy the pedal theory and Toyota should be looking at the computer.

Computer code:

If (gas on floor) and (break on floor) then kill engine;

What do you think?




  1. greensaab says:

    This the first thing I thought of also.

  2. Joe Dirt says:

    Brilliant! If gas pedal and brake pressed at same time, don’t move!

    and now, let me get back to my squirrel fetish…

  3. Dallas says:

    May be a gas pedal USB driver issue.

  4. god says:

    OK, since no one here actually reads anything:

    1. Turning your ignition switch back one click cuts off the ignition without locking the steering wheel. Been that way for decades. Federal standard.

    2. The fix awaiting federal approval could come quickly – see #3, however – inserting a low friction washer into the linkage.

    3. You needn’t worry about the problem any longer. A Congressional committee is ordering hearings over the question. That should solve everything.

  5. Faxon says:

    After reading all the posts, the only real solution would be to not drive a Toyota. As far as turning off the key….. by the time you realize what is happening, you have already had the accident.

  6. Winston says:

    It’s the TWR virus (Toyota Wild Ride) which infects the vehicle’s powertrain controller module via an infected MP3 flash drive plugged into the audio system.

    😉

  7. Winston says:

    Forgot to mention: only flash drives containing MP3s by Celine Dion are affected.

  8. Killer Duck says:

    Most cars have one or more Throttle Position Sensors which are just variable resistors that are read by the car’s computer. However, it looks like this particular problem looks like a mechanical wear issue more than anything.

  9. Jess Hurchist says:

    My vote is for condensation around the throttle freezing and keeping it open.

  10. Marc Perkel says:

    I hope the transmission isn’t I wire as well. If the computer locks up at full throttle and the computer controls the transmission then shifting into neutral doesn’t put the car in neutral.

    Is the transmission control real or just another joystick?

  11. Professor Johnnycakes says:

    I drive a Sienna (Minivan) and it is drive by wire but it was not recalled. Wouldn’t it share much of the computer code as the others that were?!?

  12. Dan says:

    Has anyone considered a deliberate hack of the computer by a competitor?

  13. Rick Cain says:

    The gas pedals in the Toyota cars are made by a subcontractor based in Illinois, go figure.

    I’m sure a japanese version would actually work right.

  14. E@$+ C0@$+ says:

    2002 Toyota Camry Stick Shift. I love my toyota and im glad that I bought used. found her on craigslist. Reliable luxurious (I used to drive a 87 s10). CD, Tape. Heats up fast in our cold northern weather. I got the blizzax snow tires and im passing people in blizzards.

  15. soundwash says:

    People… It’s [dirty] politics silly…

    Marc’s logic is sound..i bet it’s a built in software “remote bug”

    Do you really think the Japanese cannot figure out whats wrong? (let alone even let something like this get to the production line?) They pride on top notch quality control..

    How many different reasons have they come up with for the failure now?

    [ahem]

    “Japan wants US military base out of Okinawa” -this is has been something Japanese have wanted for a long while.. That base is of major strategic value to our Military.

    Japanese Want The US Military Out Of Japan (in depth story) a snippet..that is all too true:

    This is a test of political will for Prime Minister Hatoyama. Can he finally challenge the overbearing nature of the United States relationship with Japan? Further, it puts one more time into lights the fact that the US military, once in a foreign country, has the tendency to stay for ever. Japan, just like Germany and countless other countries in the world are getting tired of it. And it is unfortunately unlikely that President Obama will ever challenge the logic of the consolidation of the American Empire, which has been the driving impulse in American foreign policies, both from Republicans & Democrats, ever since the end of World War II.

    You also must remember, Japan is almost at 200% GDP in debt. They cannot afford this for too much longer..

    Lets see if as soon as this US Base problem is resolved,(in favour of the US, of course) -the solution to the recall problem “is suddenly also found..”

    conspiracy 101: This recall will be used as a cover for poor January Durable Goods/Sales numbers here in the U.S. next month. Because you know, otherwise we would have seen even bigger signs of this stellar, nonexistent [papered over] recovery..

    102: NWO kids want to crash the world economies right? -what better way to kill two birds with one stone:

    crash japan so they default on debts, -banks get to snatch up the collateral for pennies, or better, loan’em even more money with japan’s resources and infrastructure as collateral [then crash’em again, ala Argentina] –and/or so they can effectively own/control/rape japan and by extension, her primary trade partner: -The USA.

    Oh, and idling factories here in the USA will eventually get more people on the dole and under *government control* -inline with the current administration’s goals..

    You wanted transparency? -you got it.

    -s

  16. clifffton says:

    #45: The pedal kits are made in Canada. Blame Canada!

    Toyota has a habit of trying to deny they are the problem. They never make a mistake. Look up early Camry brake problems, Toyota blamed Goodyear for problems that were clearly in the disc brakes. Not that mid 80’s oem Goodyears were very good, but that’s another story.

    In Japan the first stop you make with a new car is the temple to get your new wheels blessed and chase out the demons. When the first Japanese electronics came to the US the request for repair manuals and spare parts was not understood. Why would you fix it, just buy a new one. If it failed it was haunted!

  17. Mr Smart says:

    My guess is that it is a hardware problem or bad connection.
    As soon as it warms up i am going to add a kill switch to my car to maybe the fuel pump what ever wire i can get to easy. What i think is when the trouble happens the driver cannot shift into N and turning off the Key also has no effect. Computers should not be in cars controling the gas or Netural of the transmission. I will not feel safe until i add a kill switch. That Airbus air france crash may have been that the computers took away control from the pilots. Air Bus is set up to do that when sensors give funny readings. Not so with other aircraft.Just because a computer can do something does not mean it must be used when a non electric way can do the same.

  18. Pantera says:

    I believe it is a computer problem. I have a 2008 Tundra with 15K. After slowing down to a stop I have had three instances were the vehicle would surge forward while stopped. Braking harder brought it back to idle. At first I thought I was loosing my mind and the dealer looked at me like I had three heads. My vehicle now has the “fix”. I know they put the shim in the accelerator; but, suspect a reprogram of the computer also. Hate to be backing up my trailer to find out it didn’t work.

  19. giacomocanta says:

    I think I have a fix if the gas pedal is stuck. Put your transmission in neutral, that should desengage your transmission from the engine and be able to apply your brakes.

  20. 2009corollaown says:

    In reply to Jescott418 above, I too own a 2009 Corolla. Had a similar problem of not starting, but then fine the next day. Also had it to go into limp home mode on the highway. Dealer had to come tow it in. Note, though it had gone into limp home, engine warning light on, there was no error code in the ECU when the dealer hooked it up to try an diagnos, at least that is what I was told. The dealer did reset the ECU. Toyota has said it is impossible for a limp home mode not to be recorded in the ECU. I know it is not impossible.

  21. CliffordK says:

    I haven’t experienced the problem in a Toyota so it is hard to say for sure.

    Certainly don’t require 100% throttle + 100% brake to force a shutdown (or throttle back). Ever hitting both pedals should bring the car down to at most a high-idle. Actually, I’m not sure one wants the engine to stall in the middle of the freeway, that can be just as dangerous.

    Actually… hitting the brake alone should always force the car into idle (see below for further discussion).

    Yes, I’ve done “two-footed” driving, in my FIAT to keep the car from dying at a stop sign, but I’m not mashing them both to the floor at the same time either.

    And, I have had a stuck accelerator (also in the FIAT). Not a big deal.. either pull up on the pedal with the toe, or pop it out of gear, pull over, and fix it. What I did find was that driving a small engine car, I tend to hit the pedal to the metal at some point in most accelerations without even realizing it. So, the stuck accelerator would give the effect of the engine racing beyond what one might otherwise expect.

    As the cars are becoming more and more computer controlled… FAILSAFES need to be built in. This could also be a hardware problem.. One bad computer bit can be the difference between a zero and two billion. And a computer locking up could give very unpredictable results…

    And, perhaps part of the problem is that the Federal DOT doesn’t understand the new technology and hasn’t been keeping up with it.

    For example, why do some cars have a restriction from hitting both the brake and accelerator, but Toyota doesn’t? That should be a Federal DOT standard.

    Any electronic fuel/air control valves should be set to be “normally closed”… so if they loose their input, they automatically close.

    There should ALWAYS be hydraulic/mechanical brakes behind any electronic brakes.

    And… if the accelerator is electronic… then the brake/accelerator connection shouldn’t go through the computer… there should be a secondary safety switch, so if the brakes are pressed to, say 50%, it should cut power to a “normally-closed” solenoid and cut the fuel to idle. AND, somehow it should all be tied into the starter circuit so that one would have to hit the brakes and activate this failsafe in order to start the car (otherwise a bad safety switch might go unnoticed). Actually a brake/accelerator failsafe should even be stock on non-computerized cars.

    Why does the space shuttle carrying a half a dozen astronauts have triple-redundant computers… and we have a billion people on the road with cars without similar redundant systems?


0

Bad Behavior has blocked 6622 access attempts in the last 7 days.