Print 47 comment(s) - last by rbuszka.. on Apr 12 at 1:38 PM

The 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD is among the over 6 million GM vehicles that are reportedly affected by brake corrosion problems.  (Source:

Tesla's has added electric braking overrides to its upcoming Model S electric sedan.  (Source: AutoBlog)
New overrides should help prevent unintended acceleration in most cases

Toyota is bearing the brunt of criticism and punishment for its recent unintended acceleration problems.  However, the issue is making the whole industry a bit nervous, as there are reports of similar incidents in models from other automakers.

Toyota is doing its part to try to remedy the issue; earlier this year it announced that it will be rolling out a brake-shift override to all its vehicles next year.  This kind of override cuts power to the engine by putting it in idle if the brake and accelerator are depressed for a prolonged time. 

General Motors this week announced that it too would be installing an override system in its vehicles.  The GM system will be rolled out over the next two years and will be completed in 2012.  GM's system will "reduce power" to the engine, according to 
The Detroit News, but GM hasn't indicated that it will put the engine in idle.  

Tom Stephens, GM's vice chairman of global product operations praised the rollout, stating, "We know safety is top of mind for consumers, so we are applying additional technology to reassure them that they can count on the brakes in their GM vehicle."

GM is having braking problems of its own, which the government is investigating.  Unlike the Toyota problem, which revolves around unintended acceleration, the GM problem involves corrosion of the brake lines, which reportedly led to a "led to a large increase in stopping distance and with the brake pedal pushed to the floor" in models such as the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD pickups.

Overall, 6 million 1999-2003 GM pickups and SUVs and 189,000 of the 2003 2500 heavy-duty pickups are under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  GM says its cooperating with the government.

Other companies are hopping on the override wagon, too.  Mazda says it plans on rolling out a brake-shift override system similar to that planned by Toyota.  It will finish its rollout by the end of 2011. Barbara Nocera, Mazda's director of government and public affairs commented, "We are rolling it out across the fleet next year. It's an evolving technology that we are applying here and we think that it's something that consumers are very aware of now, because of the Toyota recall issue. We think it's something that customers will value as an added margin of safety."

American electric car maker Tesla is adding an override system of its own.  The software update to Tesla's Model S, an upcoming electric 4-door sedan, cuts power to the engine if the car is in neutral, if the key is in the off position, or if the driver depresses the brakes for more than 2 seconds.  This is important as electric cars would presumably be more susceptible to malfunctions due to cosmic rays or other forms of interference (though the override system could, in theory, malfunction during such an event as well).

Currently a handful of German luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz include brake override protections in their vehicles.  The feature was largely ignored by consumers until the saga of runaway Toyota vehicles.

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Here's an idea...
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 9:28:00 AM , Rating: 4
Put a cable between the gas pedal and the engine throttle control. Pretty simple.

Pretty effective.

Pretty... 20th century and has been around for a long time. No need for drive-by-wire throttle control.

RE: Here's an idea...
By GaryJohnson on 4/7/2010 9:39:27 AM , Rating: 5
Or they could put this switch that you turn that shuts off the engine... or this lever that takes the transmission out of gear... or this pedal that you press on that stops the car.

So many ways to deal with unintended acceleration.

RE: Here's an idea...
By leuNam on 4/7/2010 11:34:58 AM , Rating: 1
try to reduce speed in panic..see where it leads you... have a heart override as well.

RE: Here's an idea...
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 11:57:18 AM , Rating: 4
Reducing speed in a panic is easy. I take my left foot and with it, I push my clutch in.

I then take my right arm and use it to manipulate the gearshift to take my car out of gear.

Problem solved.

RE: Here's an idea...
By Helbore on 4/7/2010 3:13:23 PM , Rating: 1
Try doing that in an automatic!

RE: Here's an idea...
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 4:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
That is simple, I just move the lever from D to N. The N stands for neutral. I routinely move the lever from D to 3 or 2 when going down a steep hill in my Wife's automatic.

RE: Here's an idea...
By Alexvrb on 4/8/2010 12:21:40 AM , Rating: 1
That kinetic energy from going downhill doesn't vanish. Why would you want to routinely move the friction (and heat created by this friction) from your cheap, easy to service brakes to your expensive automatic transmission? Granted, you probably get rid of the car before its ever an issue.

RE: Here's an idea...
By bsoft16384 on 4/8/2010 6:27:22 AM , Rating: 4
Please tell me that you don't drive in hilly terrain.

The reason you want to downshift is that your brakes cannot sustain prolonged application. Once your brakes heat up enough, they lose their ability to provide braking force and you lose the ability to control the vehicle.

Downshifting primarily uses friction in the engine to provide braking force, not the transmission. The engine fortunately has a very effective cooling system, so it doesn't overheat.

Here in Colorado there are several trucks that lose control every year on I-70 coming into Denver because they fail to downshift. Drivers who are used to short hills discover that their brakes become ineffective quickly, and once they're doing 70+ MPH downhill with no brakes it's often impossible to shift into lower gear.

RE: Here's an idea...
By Iketh on 4/8/2010 8:14:39 AM , Rating: 2
Most of what you stated is not entirely correct.

Brakes can sustain application indefinitely. Brake pads lose their friction against brake rotors only when they pass a certain temperature, which varies based on the pad material. Ceramic brake pads must get much hotter than semi-metallic pads before losing friction, and carbon-metallic even hotter. Then you have rotor ventilation that helps with temperature...

Point is it's all based on the model of vehicle, brake system design, and payload. If you're driving a 4x4 completely empty, you should have no problem using only your brakes to descend a mountain. The design of the brake system won't allow temperatures to reach critical levels, unless you're one of those that ignored the pad material your brake system was designed to use and installed a lower quality, such as replacing your brake pads with cheaper semi-metallic instead of staying with ceramics.

Downshifting uses engine friction and cylinder vacuum to help slow. The friction part is constant (save temperature), no matter if you're applying full throttle or coasting in gear. Your engine needs a cooling system because of combustion, not friction.

Now, how do you think this friction reaches the wheels? Through the transmission. Alex was simply stating that you place extra wear on your transmission (and engine) by downshifting, which is entirely true.

RE: Here's an idea...
By rbuszka on 4/12/2010 1:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
You're both wrong. What is your engine? it's an air compressor with a fuel system and spark. When you remove the fuel and ignition from the equation, your engine is no longer a power source but a sink, and the power is not dissipated in friction or in drawing a vacuum against the throttle plate, but in compression of the incoming air as the crank in each cylinder arrives at top-dead-center. As the air expands while the piston is descending after TDC, not all of the energy in the compressed air is used to expand against the piston surfaces, but some of the energy remains in the air charge as heat, which means that the engine is converting some of the incoming kinetic energy to heat - essentially what a brake does.

The reason the clutch packs in an automatic transmission can be so much smaller than your brakes is that they are designed to fully engage so there is no relative motion between the plates and the pads, and thus very little heat is ever generated. Decoupling from the engine happens via the torque converter, and does not involve partial application of any clutch.

The argument against using engine braking due to heat generation in the friction components of the engine and transmission just doesn't hold up. I drive in a hilly area and use engine braking regularly to control my descent.

RE: Here's an idea...
By Alexvrb on 4/8/2010 12:47:18 AM , Rating: 2
Also, a big reason mechanical throttle linkages are vanishing: our government wants all cars to have electronic stability control (which requires electronic control of both brakes and throttle). This is old news.

Due to the difficulty of implementing a proper ESC system with a mechanically actuated throttle, as well as the gains in efficiency with drive by wire, it is taking over. Everything will have it, very soon. It's not a big deal (if it's done right), and a brake override will give you that extra insurance. Most people who are used to autos don't instinctively go for the shifter, but they can punch the brakes.
This kind of override cuts power to the engine by putting it in idle if the brake and accelerator are depressed for a prolonged time.
To clarify this a bit: When a drive by wire vehicle suffers from "unintended acceleration", the computer is being told the accelerator is being depressed, even if its not physically being depressedby the driver. So the computer opens the throttle and the vehicle accelerates.

That's where the brake override comes into play. If the car starts to take off, you step on the brakes to try and bring the vehicle under control. Now the computer sees BOTH pedals being depressed at the same time (even if you're only physically stepping on the brake pedal), and the computer cuts the throttle way back, allowing you to stop normally.

RE: Here's an idea...
By Helbore on 4/8/2010 4:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
I was referring to putting your foot down on the clutch. It was meant as a joke!

I'm actually not one of the morons who doesn't know what the little N on the shift means. I also know what turning the key to the off position does to the engine!

In fact, I've stopped other people who were driving by pulling them out of gear in an emergency (they were learners and I was teaching). It's amazing what you are capable of doing in a split-second emergency if you know what you are doing. Stopped the car with nothing but the gearstick (this was a manual) and the handbrake. Didn't even touch the clutch. Ok, not the best thing for the car, but better than driving into a wall!

RE: Here's an idea...
By rbuszka on 4/12/2010 1:38:10 PM , Rating: 2
What's needed is an E-Stop button or "kill switch". All power-operated industrial machines are required to have a red mushroom button labeled "Emergency Stop". (More recently, the requirement was also added to place this red button against a yellow field.) This E-Stop button would need to be located in easy reach (the side of the steering column perhaps), and would need to remove power to the engine's electronic ignition system.

RE: Here's an idea...
By theapparition on 4/7/2010 9:40:02 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Let's see, did Audi's with cable driven throttles have unintended acceleration issues in the 90's? Yep.

Would a cable affect a stuck gas pedal caused by floormats? Yep. That's of course if you believe Toyota's claim, which I don't, but still in that scenerio, cable driven TBs would exhibit the same behaviour as ETBs.

Cable driven throttles with cruise control need to have an electronic actuator to modulate the cable, so a malfunction in one of those "evil" electronic systems could fail too.

Besides, electronic throttle controls give better throttle response.

RE: Here's an idea...
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 9:49:28 AM , Rating: 1
better throttle response

... that very, very few people would ever know how to take advantage of. And, even then, the merits of electronic versus analog are debateable. This is especially true of steering.

I _rarely_ use cruise control. In fact, cruise control should only be used on the highway when there is very little traffic. Where I live, the opportunity for that is extremely rare as we have some of the worst traffic in the country.

People who rely on cruise control while on surface streets (non-highway) should not even be allowed to drive.

No, if we are going to continue to allow people to drive on our streets while they control the vehicle (rather than them being on autopilot), we need more systems that force people to pay attention to driving rather than less.

RE: Here's an idea...
By The Raven on 4/7/2010 10:45:04 AM , Rating: 2
I respectfully disagree. Though there are people who think cruise control is 'autopilot' (and maybe that is most people who use CC), but in the mind of someone who doesn't see it that way, it can be safer than driving without it. I use it all the time in normal conditions (no rain/snow etc.). It is safer to have my foot hovering over the brake instead of busy pressing the gas. And I don't have to look at my speedometer so I can focus on safety signage and obstacles in the driving environment.

So while I agree that there are many idiots out there who don't know how to use it properly, but don't knock CC for it. My stance is straight out of the "Guns don't kill people. People kill people" book, if you know what I mean.

As for this article:
Do you notice how this is a measure that will stop the car if the brake and accelerator are pressed simultaniously? It's as if the auto industry knows that there are idiots pressing both... How do they do it?

As far as I'm concerned, this is like a statement from the industry that they believe the recent Toyota unintended acceleration stories are bunk. Or at least just a safeguard in case someone else claims they can't stop their cars, they can fall back on this to shut people up.
I don't think this is the industry saying that the officer in SD could have been saved by this because he was pressing the brake. So I'm not sure what this addresses except Audi's problem where it was determined that people were pressing both pedals.

I have no use for this. But the industry appearantly does.

I just can't wait to hear that some of these cars are getting recalled because this override has been found to intermitantly fail.

And guess who has to pay for this added standard 'feature'? People who buy cars. That's who. Thanks a lot Sikes! Manipulative lying douche.

RE: Here's an idea...
By Schrag4 on 4/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Here's an idea...
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 11:24:20 AM , Rating: 3
It is safer to have my foot hovering over the brake instead of busy pressing the gas.

I respectfully disagree as well. :) The one concept that most drivers fail to learn is proper throttle control. Most people are content with the explanation that the further you press your throttle into the floor, the faster your car will go. That is typically the extent of their knowledge on how to use the throttle.

That is also rather unfortunate.

You see, the throttle is a beautiful instrument, not only does it control how fast you go, but, at the same time, it controls how slow you go. It, for all intents and purposes, controls your acceleration. Are you accelerating quickly, slowly, or not at all. It does all of these. Proper throttle usage can enable you to speed up... and slow down, all without ever using your brakes.

When I drive my manual transmission car, I almost never touch my brakes. I only touch them typically to come to a quick stop which is not often, and more likely use them to just hold my car in place. I use my transmission and throttle to do all the rest. When I drive my wife's automatic transmission car, she becomes uneasy because, like my manual, I also use the throttle to control my speeding up and slowing down. I use it to do all of that, while rarely using the brake, even in it. This bothers her, but, only because she does not know how to properly drive.

Most Americans don't. I'm an American myself, but, I'm one of the few that learned how to drive on a manual transmission. Learning to drive on a manual transmission bestows a breadth of knowledge that you do not have to rely on to drive an automatic. You either have to press the gas, or press the brake in them. In reality, you don't _have_ to, it is just easy to do so, but, that does not make it more efficient.

It is always best to have your foot on the accelerator at almost all times. You can react faster, there is less distance for your foot to travel, and, you can anticipate the road ahead and adjust to it better by not using the brakes and instead properly adjusting the amount of gas you are applying.

This is my opinion, of course, so take it for what it is worth. :)

RE: Here's an idea...
By Kurz on 4/7/2010 11:59:12 AM , Rating: 2
I happen to agree with that opinion.
When I taught my siblings to drive first thing I taught them was throttle control.

RE: Here's an idea...
By slashbinslashbash on 4/7/2010 12:17:05 PM , Rating: 4
What you're describing works far better in manual transmission vehicles than in automatic transmission vehicles (at least, all the ones I've driven). Letting off the accelerator pedal in an auto usually creates somewhat of a "coasting" condition (i.e. the driveshaft is not tightly coupled to the engine crankshaft in any way; much like if the clutch were disengaged in on a manual transmission vehicle). The only thing slowing the vehicle down is wind resistance and other friction forces. Let off the gas in an auto at highway speeds, and you'll immediately see the engine RPM drop at least a few hundred RPM while the wheels keep rolling at the same ground speed. This is because the lockup clutch in the torque converter has disengaged, and the torque converter itself is not very good at transferring torque from the transmission to the engine, as it is a fluid coupling that is designed to do the opposite.

In contrast, letting off the accelerator pedal in a manual transmission vehicle creates an engine braking situation. The engine is still spinning at XXXX RPM's to match the wheel speed, but the throttle plate is closed, so those pistons are trying to fill up with air that's not being let in; thereby creating a vacuum, which eats up power and slows down the vehicle immediately.

I'm with you: I love driving in stop-and-go traffic with a manual transmission; I try to see how long I can go without touching the brake, relying only on clutch and accelerator to speed up, slow down, and even come to a complete stop. However, doing so is basically impossible in an auto. Yes, you can make the an automatic transmission vehicle slow down through the accelerator pedal and forced downshifting, but it is hardly the precise affair it is with a manual.... and you'll never be able to come to a complete stop or even down to less than 10MPH on a flat surface.

RE: Here's an idea...
By The Raven on 4/8/2010 12:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
In contrast, letting off the accelerator pedal in a manual transmission vehicle creates an engine braking situation.

Yeah but not when you disengage the clutch. Then you are truely coasting, as I'm sure you know.

But I see what you guys are saying now. I thought you were crazy at first because I have always gone with the "clutch and brake" method pretty much at all times. My gpa taught me to use the brake instead of the transmission because brakes are cheaper than transmissions.

So I'm not really a downshifting kind of guy. It doesn't make as much sense to me as if I was racing and need better control because my nerves would be shot and I wouldn't care about the long-term health of the tranny because I'd get a new one for the next race. That'd be really hard to brake skillfully in those situations, no?

For the average driver I would think it is better for rain/snow though I don't have any experience driving stick in snow. And with ABS pretty much standard on everything it's a non issue, no?

But really my point of having the foot hovering over the brake is that I am more prepared to stop (a la slamming brakes because a deer jumped onto the highway) than someone who has their foot on the gas and has to check their speedometer all the time.

So what I'm saying is given that I am a passenger in an automatic, I would feel safer if the driver knew how to use the CC to his advantage than if he was busy with his foot on the gas and frequent checks to the speedometer.

Having said all of this, though I would feel safer, it wouldn't be by much. You guys just took this a little too far. I was just trying to say that people using CC are not necessarily mindless zombies, and can be using it to improve their safety if only marginally :-P

RE: Here's an idea...
By The Raven on 4/8/2010 1:08:47 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and I have a question (as I don't currently have a stick to try it on), but I really didn't think letting off the gas would completely stop the car, since it is my experience that engaging the clutch has pulled the car forward. From what I remember it pretty much behaved like an automatic at that point until I wanted to take it into 2nd. Of course the cars that my family owned were '86 T-bird, '93 RX7, and various Corollas/Sentras/Escorts and I did not really experiment with all of them. I clocked the most hrs in the T-bird as that was my first car.

I love driving in stop-and-go traffic

Whoa! Slow down there buddy (via the brakes or the tranny) and think about what you are saying! ;-)

RE: Here's an idea...
By slashbinslashbash on 4/8/2010 3:25:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, if you let off the gas in a manual transmission vehicle and don't disengage the clutch, the vehicle will slow down until the engine stalls (500RPM or so) and the vehicle will stop. An application of the accelerator pedal at any point along the way will keep it going, of course. Of course the point at which this happens will depend on various characteristics of the engine and transmission, but it will happen in all of them.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, I also love the cruise control. I use it pretty much any time I am driving 60+ MPH and there is little traffic.

RE: Here's an idea...
By The Raven on 4/9/2010 3:05:06 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks, yeah that is what I thought: they would stall. From your post I was thinking that you were saying that you could just take your foot off the gas and then you could come to a complete stop w/o stalling as in stop and go traffic.

Yeah so we're on the same page it would seem. Thanks.

RE: Here's an idea...
By LRonaldHubbs on 4/7/2010 10:14:28 AM , Rating: 1
Let's see, did Audi's with cable driven throttles have unintended acceleration issues in the 90's? Yep.

No, they just had a bad case of idiots behind the wheel.

Your other points are valid though.

RE: Here's an idea...
By Spuke on 4/7/2010 11:36:19 AM , Rating: 2
Let's see, did Audi's with cable driven throttles have unintended acceleration issues in the 90's? Yep.
My memory is not good on this but I remember Audi's problem being that the brake pedal (only 5000 with the auto tranny cars had this "problem") was as small as their manual transmission cars and people were expecting a big brake pedal and stepping on the gas instead. I remember 60 Minutes dragging Audi through the mud only to find out it was the drivers fault.

RE: Here's an idea...
By LRonaldHubbs on 4/7/2010 12:57:47 PM , Rating: 2
Your memory is correct.

RE: Here's an idea...
By djc208 on 4/7/2010 2:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
It is a simple and effective method of throttle control, unfortunately cars are anything but any more.

Most traction control systems modulate engine power in addition to brakes so electronic throttle control is beneficial.

BMW has engines that don't use a conventional throttle body, they vary valve lift for improved engine efficiency. This system is computer controlled.

Engines from Dodge, GM, and Honda feature cylinder deactivation systems which require changes in throttle position as it is engaged and disengaged.

Plus it gives you essentially "free" cruise control since only the control switch and a few lines of code need to be added to implement it on a vehcile with electronic throttle control.

In many cases it also improves fuel efficiency. Small movements in the accelerator peddle (i.e. going over a bump, etc.) cause changes in engine output that don't ultimately affect vehicle speed but do increase fuel consumption, even if only a little. These minor variations can be damped in the electonics in ways they can't be with a mechanical linkage.

They also allow manufacturers to more carefully tune throttle engagment and response. You can change throttle response based on speed, throttle position, and any number of other variables.

Besides, sometimes powertrain packaging does not easily allow for a conventional cable or linkage.

RE: Here's an idea...
By krull1313 on 4/7/2010 4:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down? $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

The story above pretty much proves that no matter what manufacturers do, someone is not going to mess it up.

RE: Here's an idea...
By jRaskell on 4/7/2010 4:40:01 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it's just proof of how gullible people can be in believing virtually anything they hear.

By mmntech on 4/7/2010 10:20:42 AM , Rating: 2
Don't we already have these? It's called, neutral/clutch + engine off.

RE: Overrides?
By Lerianis on 4/8/2010 4:11:06 AM , Rating: 2
In a power steering vehicle, it is VERY stupid to do that. Why? Because it becomes MAGNITUDES harder to drive your vehicle to avoid obstacles if you turn the engine off!

Believe me, I had my car sputter out on me at highway speeds one time, and I thought that I was fighting with HERCULES over the steering wheel in order to get myself quickly and safely to the side of the road!

I'm no 'weakling' either.

RE: Overrides?
By GreenEnvt on 4/8/2010 4:04:21 PM , Rating: 2
At highway speeds you only need to turn the wheel an inch or two in order to change lanes, go round bends, or pull over, so it's not so hard.
It's much more difficult to turn the wheel at very low speeds, like trying to pull into a parking spot.

RE: Overrides?
By ChronoReverse on 4/8/2010 8:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
IIRC power steering is even turned off (at least for some cars) once your speed exceed 60kph so it's really not an issue at highway speeds.

By Amiga500 on 4/7/2010 9:52:53 AM , Rating: 1
RIP Heeling and toeing.

RIP left foot braking.

All 'cos some useless idiots cannot drive and cannot accept their darwin awards!!!

By Kurz on 4/7/2010 12:01:09 PM , Rating: 3
Actually it doesn't You can still heel toe in the toyotas.
If you press the accelerator first then brake it activates it.

If you press brake then accelerator it doesn't trip it.

By djc208 on 4/7/2010 2:46:41 PM , Rating: 3
The article mentions that some of these systems only engage after a period of time, so it wouldn't necessarily prevent heel-toe driving. I'm also not sure how much of this will go on manual drive trannies since the clutch would easily negate the problem.

As for left foot braking that usually just leads to people riding the brakes, confusing other drivers, and wearing out their brakes prematurely. Unless you're talking about doing burnouts and that's never exactly been factory approved anyway so I wouldn't expect too much sympathy from them.

Won't help much
By Nutzo on 4/7/2010 11:12:48 AM , Rating: 2
This wouldn't have helped in the 2 recent cases of the Toyota Prius "unintended acceleration"

In the New York case, the driver never pressed the brake, but the floored the gas instead. How do you fix the problem of the driver pressing the wrong pedal?
In San Diego, the drive pressed the gas and the brake alternately over 250 times. It appears he was having money problem and was trying to get in on a lawsuit. How to you fix a car to avoid greed?

As for the police officer & family thay died, it was in a rental car, and the problem was due to the wrong floor mats that got stuck. This type of break override would have save them. However, simply turning off the car would have saved them too. The problem was that this car had a push button start (no key). They did not know that to force shut down the car, they needed to press the start button for over 4 seconds (just like a PC). The 911 operators didn't know this either.

RE: Won't help much
By Kurz on 4/7/2010 12:02:57 PM , Rating: 2
Toyota and these companies are now covering all there bases.
They have these systems in place they can state its impossible to have unintended acceleration.

RE: Won't help much
By Spuke on 4/8/2010 12:43:14 AM , Rating: 2
They have these systems in place they can state its impossible to have unintended acceleration.
It will still happen. Never underestimate the power of stupid.

By VoodooChicken on 4/7/2010 9:46:49 AM , Rating: 4
...Apple's patent for "conserving power by reducing voltage" or however they called it. Let's see who flinches first.

Engine off? When...?
By Qapa on 4/7/2010 10:33:17 AM , Rating: 2
"cuts power to the engine if the car is in neutral, if the key is in the off position, or if the driver depresses the brakes for more than 2 seconds"

Ok, lets see each one:
- "if the car is in neutral"
Off course, in neutral you shouldn't have transmission!!

"if the key is in the off position"
Off course, in off you shouldn't have power to engine!!

"if the driver depresses the brakes for more than 2 seconds"
Errr... what?? So if I'm just in a red light my engine goes to 0 rpm? So if I'm in a street with 10º inclination I now need to use the hand brake like someone who has no idea how to use a manual stick car...
Or what If I'm breaking but also accelerating to get more rpms to be slow enough for a curve but with rpms enough to then accelerate? (maybe this is less than 2 seconds...)

Anyway, this seems like a problem of "I've heard there might be a bug, ok, lets not try to find it, lets instead create some artificial measures so that in some cases it is still not seen". Well, was there a bug or not? Where? Tehn fix it! Don't destroy the fun of driving a car...

RE: Engine off? When...?
By djc208 on 4/7/2010 2:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
This was for the Tesla, which is electric drive, so the motor is always at 0 RPM when you're stopped.

I don't think the current Tesla vehicles even have multiple foward gears because of the operating range of an electric motor, so no clutch or gear shift either. And since electric motors generate maximum torque at 0 RPM and are direct drive to the wheels, moving from a stop on the incline should be easier than in any automatic or manual car.

The key off one is kind of funny. I'd really hope there was no power to the motor if the key was off! The fact they're just thinking of adding that now is kind of scary.

Sucks for burnouts
By GreenEnvt on 4/7/2010 9:25:34 AM , Rating: 2
I guess the days of stationary smokey burnouts are behind us.
Some motorsports that start from stock vehicles, like drifting, might need to make more changes than before too. Though I'd imagine many of them use custom ECU's anyway.

RE: Sucks for burnouts
By Beenthere on 4/7/2010 10:23:30 AM , Rating: 1
You can still do burnouts and left foot braking. The driver stupidity overrides only cut the throttle after 5 seconds or so of both the brake pedal and accelerator being pushed hard and the vehicle speed being above like 15 mph. So no problem with the override.

It's already on my vehicle
By dtgoodwin on 4/7/2010 1:01:23 PM , Rating: 2
My 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, which has an electronic throttle, already possesses this behavior. If at any speed other than a crawl, the brake is pressed, power to the engine is cut. I found out by accident, but have been pleased to know that at least on this vehicle, they were forward thinking.

Easy solution
By Beenthere on 4/7/2010 10:14:44 AM , Rating: 1
Teach people the brake pedal is NOT on the right or deny them a driver's license if they don't already know - even better.

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