When the carmakers come forward to announce gitches in their car, there are at least 2 effects. Firstly, consumers will start building up concern on the latest and greatest technology that are introduced into the model. It may hurt the sales of the model for sometimes. Secondly, the honesty proves to the public that the automaker value the importance of safety.
As the industry moving towards "intelligence" - smart car, smart city, smart everything, electronics and software become a crucial component. There will more models of car that will be equipped with different kind of electronic system in the coming years. On the other hands, there seems to be no bug free software. Question is how the automakers be able to put the process together better to identify the potential bug earlier and what they can do as a precaution to mitigate any bugs that slip through the system test. Similarly, shall the safety test be revised and improved in the government side?
I was very interested in this article, given that I drive my Honda Insight pretty much every day. It sounds like there is a good chance that it will also be seeing a recall at some point.
That being said, I can't say that I have ever experienced anything like this. I have noticed an anomaly in the transmission - under very specific circumstances it gets stuck in "first" gear. The quotes are there because the car actually has a continuously-variable transmission. I learned very quickly to shift when that happens, and it drops into the correct range.
Does this recall mean that I should not drive the car? I already have close to 100,000 miles on it. The point that was made by others regarding relative risk is one that I second wholeheartedly. People drivers do random stupid things. Computer drivers may also do random bad things, but the probability of them happening is orders of magnitude lower. We evaluate the risk as being higher because we fear the lack of control involved.
Your suggestion is useful: forewarned is forearmed. My recent article on Sudden Acceleration in IEEE ACCESS, downloadable as a PDF file, PART V sets out to answer the question: "What practical measures might either minimise the risk of sudden acceleration incidents occurring or reduce their severity if they should occur?"
I suggest that drivers should have the Cold Charging Ampere (CCA) rating of their vehicle's battery measured regularly. If it falls too far from the rated value, they should replace the battery with a good quality battery of the same or higher CCA rating. A battery in good condition and fully charged will minimise sudden voltage dips when heavy current loads come on and therefore will minimise the magnitude of any glitches that might upset the sensitive vehicle electronics. I also suggest changing brake fluid regularly because this keeps the moisture content low and maintains the boiling point at a sufficiently high temperature to avoid the formation of vapour locks. This would give the driver faced with a SA incident a better chance of bringing the vehicle under control by braking. Drivers should not pump the brakes because they will lose vacuum assist very quickly.
"Put the car in neutral. No matter the RPMs of an engine, a car cannot accelerate without being in gear. If putting the car in neutral fails, shut off the engine (NOTE, shutting off the engine while a car is moving can be dangerous, as you will lose power-steering and brake-assist.... this method should be a last resort only). Once you have the car under control, shift it to park and turn off the engine. This should clear the fault. In many cases of sudden acceleration, the brakes alone are not enough to stop a car at wide open throttle. As a result, shifting to neutral is always the best option."
In my opinion, this advice, or something similar, should be provided in the owner's manual.
I also suggest in my paper (1) that learner drivers should be informed about the potential risks of sudden acceleration and should be trained how to react (2) Pedestrians should be warned that any stationary vehicle should be approached with caution because of its latent potential to suddenly accelerate(3) Traffic controllers and traffic police should be trained in how best to deal with runaway vehicles. The Police in the United Arab Emirates seem fairly well organized in this respect
"In a similar incident in Saudi Arabia last month, police triggered the automatic brakes of a Toyota Land Cruiser stuck in cruise control at 210kph by shooting out the rear windscreen, according to the Saudi newspaper Al Rayat."
In my opinion we would be well advised to treat the modern car fitted with an electronic throttle with the respect that our forebears used to treat a team of horses. If a car should get an electronic hissy fit it will have the potential kick of several hundred horses and might well kick us to kingdom come! And there must surely be a better fail safe of last resort than shooting out the rear windscreen!
It obvious that you haven't had the pleasure of being in one of these death traps! As My Mums corolla had it happen once to her , and another time to my brother 5 weeks ago! His experience was it took off as he was coming into a busy roundabout, got the picture, was in the right lane couldn't hold it as hit was hitting peak revs and had to veer to left lane as he would have
Ran up the back of the car in front...he got it around and got off side off road , by putting it in to neutral and turning the ignition off . Was in shock as you would be! Checked his pants! Turned the ignition on Car went in to peak revs even harder then the spin around the circle, with no foot on break or the accelerator peddle..And all the time the accelerator peddle was up, so wipe out sticky peddle or the other lie as the mats are killers !
Oh then the driver error bullshit! Then you have a case call unintended acceleration might add the sudden there to.Know at the moment we are trying to get the manufacturer to take its lemon back! But they are telling us their tests are fault free and the car has never suffered that.But I can tell you that my Mun and brother thought they were going to die! And
Toyota are telling us it never happened ! They are pulling the wool over
their customers eyes as we are not ediots as what they are making out! SO in other words Go away and kill your self and wipe a family out! Then come back! Oh thats if your still alive and not in prison for mansaluter! And the oly way wr could win this
"It's not nearly as simple as you make it, however."
Not surprising given that the above "comment" appears to be plastered over the comments sections of numerous other sites that happen to mention "Toyota" and "recall" etc. The words "spam" and "troll" come to mind...
"So, does anyone doubt that driver error is at least a contributing factor?"
Sure: conspiracy theorists, publicity seeking "consumer activists," and expert witnesses/consultants and lawyers who see big $$$ in potential lawsuits against big corporations.
It looks like that these types of problem will recur. It will be nice to have drvier's trained for this type of problems to mitigate the risk, just like other driving lessons. Are there suggested list for this?
Here is another example (albeit for buses) of a software recall for unintended acceleration, it is also quite recent from May 2014.
Report Receipt Date: MAY 28, 2014 NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V303000 Component(s): POWER TRAIN Potential Number of Units Affected: 2
Manufacturer: Champion Bus, Inc.
SUMMARY: Champion Bus, Inc. (Champion) is recalling certain model year 2014 Defender shuttle buses built on Freightliner M2 chassis, equipped with Eaton-brand hybrid automated transmissions. The software controlling the affected transmissions may improperly raise the vehicle's engine speed during downshifts without the driver's input.
CONSEQUENCE: The increase in engine speed may result in unintended acceleration, increasing the risk of a crash.
It's not nearly as simple as you make it, however.
The first cases of unintended acceleration that made a big news splash occurred in the 1980s, before electronic throttle controls, and Audi was the bad guy. The best anyone could determine then was that that drivers were planting their foot on the accelerator rather than the brake, in spite of their denials. Audi moved the pedals further apart, and the news blitz seemed to die down. At the time, I think it was Car and Driver magazine that took comparative measurements of the positioning of pedals in different cars, and the Audi ones were a little bit shifted to the left. So that's a possibility.
So, does anyone doubt that driver error is at least a contributing factor? I don't. Is it still the major contributing factor, as it must have been before electronic thottles were introduced? Well, we simply don't know.
Any time driver error is involved in any accident, which I'll bet a fair sum of money is the staggeringly vast majority of times, an autonomous vehicle would most likely have avoided the accident. I mean, just imagine all the cases of driver inattention that lead to rear end collisions or collisions through intersections. Easily solved with more automation.
This problem of software glitch causing unintended acceleration is fairly easily solved by mandating a mechanical override, so that any application of the brake closes the throttle. Yes, there may be some corner cases where some will claim you need to apply brakes and accelerator simultaneously, but you know what? As manual transmissions gradually disappear from the scene, even those corner cases will become mostly irrelevant. Not to mention that there are other, more clever ways of managing that starting-up-a-steep-hill-without -rolling-back problem, oh yeah, with control algorithms.
The idea that manual driving is somehow the only "safe" way of moving a vehicle is fairly absurd, just looking at drivers day in and day out. As much as these software-induced glitches occur, their incidence has to be minuscule compared with what we face every day on the road. (Not saying that the problem should be ignored, of course.) Think about it.
Another fine article from EE Times, one of the few publications that has dared to expose the facts about electronic issues associated with unintended acceleration. And right on for Charlene Blake's commentary.