Monday, May 17, 2010

Why Toyota doesn't have an accelerator problem.

There was a very interesting article published in Popular Mechanics May 2010 issue about Toyota's ongoing accelerator and unintended acceleration problems. To boil it down to its essence, Toyota are not the only company that have this problem - they're just the only ones the press are reporting on. In the last year, the NHTSA has registered unintended acceleration complaints with multiple models in all the following manufacturers ranges: General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler, Nissan, BMW, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Kia, Mazda, Land Rover, Suzuki and Volvo. All of these brands have issued recalls to address the issues.
The article goes into some depth to explain how, for the most part, electrical "gremlins" are all but impossible in throttle-by-wire systems. With multiple redundant systems, failsafes and the basic laws of physics at play, it's 99.99% certain that the problem in all these cases is simple driver error.
The problem of course is that the media, Congress and personal injury lawyers are all now involved like sharks circling a bleeding swimmer. Once public outrage gets involved, science tends to be thrown to the side. There's a calm-headed logical explanation for all these problems and with the exception of a physically sticky accelerator pivot (a mechanical issue) or a floor mat that traps the pedal physically (another mechanical issue), there simply is no problem here. I suspect that Congress and the lawyers will ignore the facts though.
At the risk of incurring the wrath of Popular mechanics, I scanned their article and it's linked here for you to read for yourself. Obviously this is (c) Popular mechanics and is reproduced with Fair Use in mind.
Toyota's accelerator pedal woes


Paul said...

This is the same Popular Mechanics that published the whitewash article regarding 911?
Wow, they must have had a change of editor and or writers.

Chris said...

Yes - I think that's an episode of their publishing history they'd like to forget. It's not often a major independent publication becomes a government patsy so obviously.