"Some versions of Audi idle-stabilization system were prone to defects which resulted in excessive idle speeds and brief unanticipated accelerations of up to 0.3g. These accelerations could not be the sole cause of [long-duration unintended acceleration incidents], but might have triggered some [of the long-duration incidents] by startling the driver." It was presumed that the Audi drivers, when the brief UA surfaced, were "startled." This, the NHTSA stated, may have resulted in longer duration UA when the driver hit the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal.
I'm sorry, Charlene, but it is just this sort of unfounded speculation that makes my eyes roll to the back of my head, during these feeding frenzies. The Audi example was a fairly good demonstration of what happens to panic-prone human drivers, unassisted by smarts in the car controls, when confronted with something slightly different from ordinary. Other really obvious examples might be driving on snow or other conditions where traction might not be perfect, in hard rain, fog, and on and on. And never mind drunk or other impaired driving.
Many drivers will end up doing really odd things in these situations. I gave you the example of my Fiat's hand throttle, to show that unintended throttle application can occur with absolutely no software in the loop. It is just one of those unexpected conditions, even if not always terribly serious, that the unassisted human CANNOT be trusted to handle properly. In the Audi case, it was even "brief," proving that much more just how the full throttle aftermath was not attributable to the vehicle itself.
You won't get "oooh" and "aaah" from me on this. If there are legitimate software glitches, no question they have to be addressed. If you attempt to broaden one software glitch into a indictment of everything electronic, or automakers in general, or the big bad faceless companies, well, I just feel aggravated.
I beg to differ, respectfully, @rich.pell. A too-simplistic, subjective explanation certainly is providing an open agenda for an automaker who may have a good reason to distract attention away from complex engine throttle control system software glitches. Blaming vehicle drivers for terrifying electronic sudden unintended acceleration events without any evidence is pushing the "pedal misapplication" agenda along. Countering driver statements about what happened is common when no *mechanical* cause for SUA is found. Objectivity is lost to subjectivity. The "driver error" theory lacks a scientific foundation. Drivers are incriminated without thorough examination of the vehicle electronics. Unfortunately, as you know, absence of proof is not proof of absence when you are talking about electronic problems.
I'm glad you brought up the Audi SUA issue. Based on your comment, I guess you probably don't know that at the time and over the years, a lot of misinformation has been spread about that 1989 NHTSA investigation and its findings. Just as in the Toyota SUA investigation, there was significant spin in the media regarding the NHTSA study conclusions.
If you go Michael Barr's website here, you will find a discussion of the Audi case:
You may remember that the Audi drivers were accused of "pedal misapplication." One article written in 2007 claimed that the NHTSA study "exonerated Audi."
In fact, the NHTSA study did find a defect in the affected Audi vehicles. Here is an excerpt from the actual NHTSA study as cited on Michael Barr's website:
"Some versions of Audi idle-stabilization system were prone to defects which resulted in excessive idle speeds and brief unanticipated accelerations of up to 0.3g. These accelerations could not be the sole cause of [long-duration unintended acceleration incidents], but might have triggered some [of the long-duration incidents] by startling the driver.”
It was presumed that the Audi drivers, when the brief UA surfaced, were "startled." This, the NHTSA stated, may have resulted in longer duration UA when the driver hit the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal.
According to Michael Barr, it is unclear whether the Audi ECU in question was all electronic or if it may have had embedded software. He points out that it is unclear what the percentages of short-duration UA and long-duration UA were. Barr says if there were more short-duration UA events, it begs the question "did the NHTSA and the public learn the right lessons?"
"I did not know that we are looking for an easier way to explain the cause of these very complex crashes."
In objective scientific inquiry it is always appropriate to look for the simplest explanations for things, at least as a starting point, based on the evidence available. Of course this approach doesn't lend itself to those who are more interested in pushing an agenda than getting to the truth of a matter.
Bert, absolutely, there is no reason for "clueless" followings. I advocate that all consumers do their homework. This is why I feel it critical to include ALL information, including the driver's exact words as to what happened in the sudden unintended acceleration events. The online vehicle owner complaints must be addressed as well. Global generalizations that the problem of SUA is simply a matter of driver error, elderly pedal misapplication, an existing medical condition or the fact that a person has prescription meds (what are blood pressure pills to blame?!?) are just a deflection away from the potential vehicle-caused possibilities...especially the complex electronically-controlled throttle system.
@Charlene...if nothing else, try using a computer at an internet cafe or a friend, and see if you get the same problem, You don't say which browser you do use, but EET has always been notoriously IE-unfriendly, which is why I changed.
Yes, you know, "hysteria," or "feeding frenzy." Whether it was the exaggerated and utterly clueless idea that Toyotas were particularly reliable previously, or the new normal that they are pieces of junk today.
Let me give you an in-home appliance example. Just because Maytag had this clever ad some years ago, of the lonely Maytag repairman, it doesn't mean we all have to drink that coolaid. According to our repairman, Maytag machines have exactly the same inner valve assembly (whatever the name is of that part) as several other brands, which makes no more or less reliable. And yet, the "common wisdom" repeated by many was that they are, or were, something special.
I much prefer seeing specifics, either way, rather than broad brush rants or raves that elicit nodding heads among the faithful.
@Bert, I don't know what you mean by "hysteria." I find it interesting that you used that description. Could you explain?
The reason I bring this up is because the trolls countering the existence of a Toyota engine oil sludge issue back in early 2001 used that word often. At one point, one of them (who tracked my comments online and offered personally defamatory remarks to them) stated that I "single-handedly created the Toyota engine oil sludge HOAX"...his exact words including capitalization emphasis. Odd, don't you think since the Toyota and Lexus engine oil sludge matter started before I began commentary and continued long past that point?
I didn't intend to switch the subject here, but I did intend to highlight the similarities of the online dialogue in each case. I do not see where "hysteria" is a part of this discussion. It certainly did not pan out that a "HOAX" was part of the Toyota engine oil sludge matter.
Trying to respectfully understand your thinking. I'd certainly be offended if your premise is that I am promoting some sort of "hysteria." My commentary should not and cannot be reduced to that erroneous description.
If , OTOH, my commentary promotes critically-needed questions and on-going public dialogue, then I have no problems with that. I would question anyone who would choose to stifle such dialogue. Freedom of speech still exists, or so I assume;)
@David, thank you for the suggestions. I really appreciate the brainstorming. I actually did try the double-spacing after paragraphs but to no avail. I will look into the other ideas next. I do not have the options you mention at the bottom, so that must be the problem. Thanks, again!
@Charlene - Some time ago I had the same problem (no paragraphs). A temporary solution as I remember was to press enter twice at the end of a paragraph, not just once. I think the problem turned out to be that I was using Internet Explorer 6, I now use Google Chrome for EETimes and it works fine.
When you post you should have a fairly large box with text handling icons at the bottom (Bold, Italic, Underline etc). If you don't have this they you're in text only mode and that's the problem. Try Chrome, it's an easy download and it does not have to be your default browser.
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