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Drive-By-Wire
Posted: 08 February 2010 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]
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As the owner of a recalled vehicle, this topic is of particular interest to me. Many people are saying the issue is not with the gas pedal at all, but with the drive-by-wire technology that can cause sudden acceleration. Airplanes have used this technology for years, if I recall correctly. I have heard, however, that planes have safety systems and redundancies in place to mind the drive-by-wire that cars do not have (due to high cost).

Not many new cars are being made without drive-by-wire, or brake-by-wire also. What of these claims that the systems can go very wrong and cause crashes? I’d like to learn more about these sytems, and I’m curious to hear what others on the forum think of them.

For the moment, I do feel safe in my car and am not worried to drive it. Besides, even if I wanted to trade it in now, who on earth would purchase it from me at a fair price?  wink

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Posted: 08 February 2010 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t know much about cars, but I wouldn’t worry about your gas pedal sticking, Jules. If worse comes to worst, you can always put the transmission in neutral.

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Posted: 08 February 2010 07:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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As I understood it, George, the gear shift was also stuck in drive. 

With an airplane the pilot can put it on automatic and take it out as s/he desires, and there are all sorts of warning systems that would notify the pilot to shut off the automatic pilot. 

It should be relatively easy to have a shut-off switch installed that would by-pass the electronics and cut off the power from the alternator to whatever distributor like system they have to generate sparks at the spark plugs.  That way, even if everything else went wrong, at least you could just coast to the side of the road and slow down and stop.

Occam
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Posted: 08 February 2010 07:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Occam - 08 February 2010 07:07 PM

As I understood it, George, the gear shift was also stuck in drive.

Really? I can’t imagine what a gear stick has to do with a gas pedal. Weird.

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Posted: 08 February 2010 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Neither do I, but apparently the auto companies have been deleting many of the mechanical connections and replacing them with electronics while leaving the standard driver interfaces so the cars look the same.  The electronics are much cheaper and weigh much less helping them to meet fuel/mileage standards.  So, if the gear shift lever isn’t directly connected to the transmission, but rather just sends a signal to a computer chip which then triggers a chenge in the transmission, and the same goes for the gas and brake pedals, I could see how a computer glitch could mess everything up.

Occam

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Posted: 08 February 2010 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes I’m not terribly worried about it - I know to put it in neutral, pull over, and cut the engine. It did make me curious about the drive-by-wire technology that seems to be on all new cars now. Something disconcerting about having a computer between the pedal and your gas/brakes?

Toyota feels the problem is with the gas pedal and they are confident it has nothing to do with drive-by-wire. If that is the case, I’m not the least bit concerned as I will have the repair soon. In addition, they say the gas pedal problem only affects high mileage cars. My 2009 model has only 3,500 miles on it so there is nothing to worry about.

Other experts are saying it IS the drive-by-wire but they don’t know how to fix it yet (or duplicate the problem to see how it goes wrong) so they are just banking on the gas pedal. A few months ago it was the floor mats accused of causing sudden acceleration. Now it is both the gas pedal and the floor mats, on various models. Some people feel it is neither, it is simply the drive-by-wire. Make up your minds, Toyota!

On the other hand, if anyone is in the market for a new car, I bet there are some great deals to be had at Toyota.  wink

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Posted: 08 February 2010 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ve had GM autos for the last 50 years, but with the constant costs of you-name-the-problem on my 2003 Malibu over the last seven years (~$400 tomorrow) I now have TWO auto manufacturers on my don’t-call-me list. 

Occam

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Posted: 09 February 2010 06:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Jules I hope you switch back, or start, buying American again. The great PR campaign that the Japanese and now Korean auto makers capitalized on-the low point of US Auto ingenuity, and marketability of the Mid ‘70s through to the early 90’s-is over.
Ford, Chrysler, and GM have been making autos that are better or on Par with any manufacturer in the World.
The primary reason we are seeing the massive publicity about these Toyota defects is the recession we are going through right now, and the outer tinges of Protectionism in the Nation’s mood. All completely justified in my opinion. That being said, Buy American. It really does help the Country.

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Posted: 09 February 2010 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Also folks the technologies that have replaced old systems in autos are far superior to the old mechanical systems. Just because we have had a glitch with Toyota(and it could have been any company) doesn’t mean a thing.
The gas mileage, reliability, longevity and general comfort of your vehicle has been increased tremendously by these technologies.

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Posted: 09 February 2010 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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VYAZMA - 09 February 2010 06:58 AM

Also folks the technologies that have replaced old systems in autos are far superior to the old mechanical systems. Just because we have had a glitch with Toyota(and it could have been any company) doesn’t mean a thing.
The gas mileage, reliability, longevity and general comfort of your vehicle has been increased tremendously by these technologies.

The problem is that my expectations and my levels of comfort have also increased. Plus, I don’t want to compare my car to that of my parents, I want to compare it to that of my neighbour. cheese

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Posted: 09 February 2010 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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George - 09 February 2010 07:21 AM
VYAZMA - 09 February 2010 06:58 AM

Also folks the technologies that have replaced old systems in autos are far superior to the old mechanical systems. Just because we have had a glitch with Toyota(and it could have been any company) doesn’t mean a thing.
The gas mileage, reliability, longevity and general comfort of your vehicle has been increased tremendously by these technologies.

The problem is that my expectations and my levels of comfort have also increased. Plus, I don’t want to compare my car to that of my parents, I want to compare it to that of my neighbour. cheese

I’m missing something….

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Posted: 09 February 2010 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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VYAZMA, I was into the “Buy American” thing. I had GM Saturns for 10 years. A sporty coupe first, then the VUE SUV. The coupe had two major problems (engine, etc.) which I thought were a stroke of bad luck. Then the VUE SUV had such a series of bad problems, I felt put-off of GM for some time.

The VUE was in the shop for over 6 months total in the 5 years I owned it. Major problems with the electrical system, which shut off the engine at random times. It also had a major engine problem similar to the first saturn, something was “not aligned properly” in the engine which shoved oil out forcefully every time it was driven. This would cause all the oil to leak out over a few days, until the engine started knocking loudly.

Happening to one car is a freak thing, but two cars in a row same brand - put me off. Both were very low milage vehicles, and I took good care of them with all the recommended tune-ups, checkups and oil changes, all performed at the dealer at scheduled intervals.

The funny thing is, my “buy American” feelings were hurt after I found out my GM brand Saturn was made in Mexico. Here I was thinking I was bringing jobs to the U.S. Apparently they had their start-up factory in the U.S. for good publicity, then quietly started having new models made in Mexico to save money.

Which is strange because my Toyota was assembled in the U.S. (providing jobs). And uses parts made in the U.S. It’s all mixed up!  LOL

I decided to go with Toyota as they had a reputation for not breaking down as often. Of course I have all the luck, having opened a can of (recall) worms…

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Posted: 09 February 2010 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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VYAZMA - 09 February 2010 06:58 AM

Also folks the technologies that have replaced old systems in autos are far superior to the old mechanical systems. Just because we have had a glitch with Toyota(and it could have been any company) doesn’t mean a thing.
The gas mileage, reliability, longevity and general comfort of your vehicle has been increased tremendously by these technologies.

Yes the drive-by-wire and brake-by-wire have provided advantages as well as disadvantages, which is sort of what I had in mind of discussing when starting the thread.

I was thinking that braking controls and brake-by-wire (less skidding, better control in slippery situations, no locking up) surely prevent many accidents! Compared to how many accidents have been caused by drive-by-wire brakes (allegedly, without testing) the safety record seems to be in favor of using the system.

Drive-by-wire surely makes for better gas mileage, and perhaps better control? Until is speeds out of control that is! (Again, allegedly.)

People are fearful, and it is strange to have a computer interface between your pedals and the mechanical components. But then again, there were problems and malfunctions with brakes and gas pedals prior to drive- and brake-by-wire technology.

In addition - there is ALWAYS the case of the person who mistakes the gas pedal for the brake pedal and slams it hard, speeding into innocent people. Happens so often. How many are going to now claim it was drive-by-wire sudden acceleration? How many will truly be a technical malfunction, and how many will be a case of Grandma getting confused? Problem is, they say malfunctions of the electronic interfaces are extremely hard to duplicate or replicate, or diagnose. If they can’t tell something was wrong, isn’t it easier to just say Grandma got mixed up?

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Posted: 09 February 2010 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Jules-

Yes the drive-by-wire and brake-by-wire have provided advantages as well as disadvantages, which is sort of what I had in mind of discussing when starting the thread.

I was thinking that braking controls and brake-by-wire (less skidding, better control in slippery situations, no locking up) surely prevent many accidents! Compared to how many accidents have been caused by drive-by-wire brakes (allegedly, without testing) the safety record seems to be in favor of using the system.

Drive-by-wire surely makes for better gas mileage, and perhaps better control? Until is speeds out of control that is! (Again, allegedly.)

People are fearful, and it is strange to have a computer interface between your pedals and the mechanical components. But then again, there were problems and malfunctions with brakes and gas pedals prior to drive- and brake-by-wire technology.

In addition - there is ALWAYS the case of the person who mistakes the gas pedal for the brake pedal and slams it hard, speeding into innocent people. Happens so often. How many are going to now claim it was drive-by-wire sudden acceleration? How many will truly be a technical malfunction, and how many will be a case of Grandma getting confused? Problem is, they say malfunctions of the electronic interfaces are extremely hard to duplicate or replicate, or diagnose. If they can’t tell something was wrong, isn’t it easier to just say Grandma got mixed up?

Jules in almost any situation the brakes override the gas pedal. For some reason Toyota opted not to use this system for their cars(except Lexus). 95% of all cars have a mechanism whereby the application of the brake pedal shuts off signals being sent by the accelerator pedal.
I think you are over thinking the other issues presented. The small number of mishaps by these incidents are barely representative of the functioning of the millions of automobiles in circulation. Mechanical/operator error will never be engineered out of any system.
Taking into consideration the acceptable amount of flaws in any system, I still don’t see any disadvantage in todays automobile technology.
There’s a lot of hype concerning the Toyota issue right now. I’m personally glad for it. But seriously, and objectively, it is almost a non-issue. Everyone likes to pick on the injured giant, plus there is no small part of current economic bias in todays reporting.

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Posted: 09 February 2010 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I agree that the electronics do great things for the cars (and for the manufacturers), but my problem is their motivation to reduce costs as much as possible.  It would be nice if they built in (at moderate extra cost) back-ups and fail-safe precautions.

Occam

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Posted: 09 February 2010 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Occam - 09 February 2010 10:15 AM

I agree that the electronics do great things for the cars (and for the manufacturers), but my problem is their motivation to reduce costs as much as possible.  It would be nice if they built in (at moderate extra cost) back-ups and fail-safe precautions.

Occam

Occam I just saw a report that electronics are rapidly approaching the 45-50% mark in the aggregate cost of a vehicle. In otherwords electronics will soon be responsible for 50% of a vehicle’s cost.
Electronics are not reducing costs. They are reducing emissions, accidents, breakdowns, etc..
They do build in back-ups and fail-safe precautions. In fact the Toyota accelerator has two totally independent electronic controls. Nobody seems to have an answer as to why they opted to not incorporate brake sensors that automatically shut down the throttle. They’ll fix the issue I’m sure. It’s really not a big deal.

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