The Toyota gas pedal recall has caused quite an uproar. Toyota says that it is not the drive by wire system that is at fault for the runaway cars as quoted by the LA Times:
November 29, 2009: A new Los Angeles Times story claims a number of Toyota drivers say their vehicles had still accelerated out of control with the floor mats removed. The Times also reports complaints of unintended acceleration increased after Toyota began using its drive-by-wire system in 2002, starting with the Lexus ES 300. According to the Times, unintended acceleration complaints on Lexus ES 300’s jumped from an average of 26 per year in 2001 to 132 per year in 2002, and there had been 19 deaths since 2002 related to unintended acceleration in Toyotas, compared with 11 deaths connected to all other automakers combined. The story also notes Toyota has been investigated for unintended acceleration more times than any other automaker, and that 74 of 132 complaints lodged against the 2007 Lexus ES 350 were for cases of unintended acceleration. Toyota has no explanation, but says its drive-by-wire system is not to blame, again citing the November 2 NHTSA report.
But I have seen no mention of the other items that no longer have mechanical links.
The Brakes: Remember that you can put your foot on the brake while flooring your gas pedal and the car would not move and I mean some pretty powerful cars you can do that with. Even though the engine is running away I can slow down my mechanically connected brake pedal car enough to save my life.
Transmission: Dammit why can’t I put the dam thing in neutral??????????????? Haven’t seen that stupid question asked by anyone yet.
Drive by wire is not just the engine controls it also involves the transmission and the brakes. Are the component shielded against waves that may emit the same signal as the computers that control car functions? Like your neighbor who can change the channel of your television those devices may have the same vulnerability.
Just putting it out there no matter how stupid it may sound! And it’s not just Toyota that uses drive by wire and some of them use Microsoft as the operating system. Hmmmmm???????
December 5, 2009: Following an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, Toyota writes a letter to the paper reiterating its stance that the floor mats were the root cause of most unintended acceleration claims. The company defends NHTSA and its methodology.
Here is how to try to save your ass if you have a runaway.