What went wrong at Toyota

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by kmguru, Mar 1, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,955
    On some automotive forums, I've read (but haven't yet been able to confirm) that many of these autos have a neutral lockout - over a certain engine (3,500 has been mentioned) RPM, you cannot shift into neutral, the computer will not let you.

    It now appears that the latest "runaway" Prius may have been a staged event. http://jalopnik.com/5491101/did-bankrupt-runaway-prius-driver-fake-unintended-acceleration
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. TBodillia Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    159
    We had an accident here early last year involving one of the company/fleet cars. The employee tried to blame "sudden acceleration syndrome" for the accident. The investigation showed it was "pedal confusion".

    The point is, after that accident, those with access to the company's cars had to take a safety course in stopping a car "speeding out of control". Shift to Neutral was the first thing mentioned. They had us stop the cars with the parking brake too. That was a bit unnerving, since in that model of car, the parking brake is the foot pedal type. There was no control over braking pressure.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,296
    Hi,

    Actually, you CAN control the pressure on the parking brake to some degree. There's always a release mechanism - and you can activate it (keep it in the released position) while applying the parking brake. That allows you increase/decrease the pressure on the brake as much as you want.

    While the degree of control isn't as smooth as normal braking, you can accomplish slowing down and/or come to a safe stop. Keep in mind, though, that on many cars it actuates the brakes on the rear wheels *only* - so stopping *will* take longer.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. TBodillia Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    159

    Right, it's just so much easier to do it in a car with a hand control for a parking brake instead of the pedal. Well, at least it seems easier.
     
  8. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,296
    Yep, you're right. I've done both, and the hand control with your right hand vs the left foot on the parking brake AND the left hand on the release handle (if you can call that little "flap" a handle) is a lot easier for me, too.
     
  9. sandy Banned Banned

    Messages:
    7,926
    Japanese cars are the best-built. They are not perfect. This is a witch hunt. Most car makers have had recalls.
     
  10. desi Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,616
    What went wrong with Toyota has more to do with what went wrong with GM. GM went bankrupt so Obama had the government bail it out and take some ownership. Now Obama wants GM to gain market share so he starts throwing mud at GMs competitor.

    Thats how you do things Chicago style baby.
     
  11. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,955
    And, once again:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  12. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,296
    That's got to be the most irrelevant post in this whole thread. Unless you can SHOW some direct involvement by Obama in this whole Toyota mess (which you cannot).
     
  13. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,955
    That talking point has been making the rounds. I'm not sure where it originated, but it is too ridiculous to even bother debunking.
     
  14. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,296
    Thanks.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Yeah, "ridiculous" is a good description for such an unintelligent rumor. Sheesh! You'd think that some people don't even bother trying to think for themselves and just repeat whatever nonsense they see written on a restroom wall.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  15. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,955
    Ah, here we go: WorldNutDaily is one of the sources for this nonsense.

    That's clever there - you see, Obama is on a "jihad" against Toyota, because he's a sekret Muslin Nigerian Manchurian candidate communist socialest whose gunna invite Fidel Castro to stay with him in the Whitehouse (which he's going to paint black soon) so Fidel can oversee the complete dismantling of capitalism here in the U.S. via socialized medicine. Haven't you people seen Red Dawn!!??
     
  16. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,955
    This is looking more like a replay of what happened to Audi in the mid 80's.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10468020-64.html?tag=newsLatestHeadlinesArea.0

    In the clip that accompanies that article, Edmunds shows several different ways to effortlessly bring the car to a halt.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    I can't Google that. Every car now has a "neutral lockout" that prevents the starter from working unless the transmission is in neutral (or park if it's automatic). So unless the new device has a different name it will be hard to research.

    Rather than having a lockout that prevents shifting into neutral at high RPM, you'd think today's software-intensive engines would simply have a governor that would limit the RPM. Is it actually possible to destroy a modern engine by over-revving it like we could do in 1959? Crash a valve into the piston? I guess that was one of the advantages of L-head engines.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I always appreciated the care they took in naming that phenomenon "unintended acceleration." The very first accident I had, in 1959, was due to "unintended acceleration." I intended to step on the brake but I stepped on the throttle instead. It wasn't the car's fault then, and a lot of us were convinced that it wasn't the car's fault in those Audi cases either. It sure made it easy to get a good deal on a used Audi!
    It's important to note that on an older car, without all the computerization, you really could "break something" by accidentally shifting into reverse. People have ruined their transmissions that way. But it is a hell of a lot better to end up with a ruined transmission, than to crash into another car at 90mph!

    It's also important to note that on an older car the ignition switch isn't as sophisticated as it is today. If you turn off the ignition and turn the key too far, you might accidentally lock the steering. But once again, in most cases that's probably the lesser of two evils, compared to letting the car accelerate to 90mph.

    Every TV news program should show this video. I agree that when people panic they simply might not be able to imagine all the options available, and shifting into neutral might not cross their mind. Let's show it to them!
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Today I tried shifting my car into neutral at 4000rpm. (A 2005 Mercedes M-class.) It did not stop me from doing so. The engine revved up to 6500rpm and stayed there. I suppose that's red-line, the tach only goes to 7000 and there's no maximum mark on it. As I suspected, the engine has a governor instead of a neutral-interlock.

    I also turned off the key and it stopped the engine but did not lock the steering. (Needless to say I performed this experiment at a much lower speed and not on the freeway.)

    I did not attempt to find out whether I could accidentally shift from Drive to Reverse at high speed. I wasn't willing to risk blowing the gearbox for the sake of the experiment.
     
  19. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,738
    Targets.
    I'll tell you what's wrong with targets.
    A hospital in the UK which had met every Government target was recently investigated and found to be lacking in many basic aspects of human care.
    Patients were being left without proper pain control, and potentially infectious rubbish was left on the wards.

    How could that happen?
    Because there was no target for pain control, they didn't worry about it.
    Because there was no target for keeping the wards tidy, they didn't worry about it.
    All they worried about was meeting the targets set.

    Target setting is a corrosive culture.
     
  20. Nasor Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,221
    No, so far as I know this isn't possible any more. I'm reluctant to say for sure that every modern car has an automatic cut-out build in to prevent this, because who knows if there's some weird model out there that I'm unaware of, but the vast majority certainly do. If I was placing bets, I would bet that it's impossible on any new car.
     
  21. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,671
  22. Watcher Just another old creaker Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    365
    For better or worse I am an expert on this topic. Although I do not work for Company T, as we call them, I am an auto engineer working for a competitor. Of course I can't state who I work for, I would never do that on this or any other public forum, nor will I give design specifics about our vehicles.

    We discuss this topic all the time at my place of work; believe me, we are watching it very very closely because we know that this sort of situation could happen to ANY major automaker at any time. As you have stated, the complexity of the system is part of the reason why this could slide through. However, that is an excuse in my opinion.

    We think there are two reasons why Toyota got into this situation:

    1) They decided to be #1 in a country where they did not truly understand the risks or the responsibilities of being #1. In pursuing this goal, they pushed to far too fast, and this particular item slipped through their requirement testing. Even though a supplier may have supplied the part or the software, ultimately it is the OEM who sets the specifications and tests to be sure it meets their requirement.

    2) Company T completely misunderstood the way that consumers think in the USA. In Japan, consumers are much less well informed and organized. Additionally, they are far less litigious. Because of this they did not understand the importance of coming clean - quickly and completely. ANY automaker could have had this problem. But Toyota's obfuscation was so obvious even a child could see through it. And they will pay the price dearly for that.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Yes. As I reported in my earlier post, I shifted my Mercedes into Neutral and the engine speed would not go past 6500rpm.
    I find this so amazing. We software engineers have been putting very complex embedded software into aircraft for a long time. It's called "avionics." I have not heard of one high-impact failure of an avionics system.

    The reason is that the engineering of embedded software is not done the way everyday MIS (management information system) software is developed. (Such as the utter crap that Microsoft has the balls to charge us for the privilege of beta-testing.)

    "Six sigma" actually is possible, it's not just a slogan misdefined in advertisements. It starts with the commitment to quality that is mandatory when a software failure will kill people. It devolves all the way through the software development life cycle. You inspect your requirements exhaustively, making sure they are complete, achievable, thoroughly and unambiguously stated, non-conflicting, testable and reasonable--not something a bunch of managers who have never met a live end-user thought up in one month. You break the project into reasonable size steps with measures for success. You allocate enough time so no one is rushed, and if the end-users don't want to pay for that much time then they can find somebody else to build their software. You inject quality assurance into every phase of the project in order to eliminate or minimize defects, rather than trying to track down hundreds of defects during testing. (That was about one one-hundredth of a treatise on software quality assurance, but the gist of it is to do all the work up front, before anybody writes a single line of code.)

    Automotive software can't be as complex as avionics: there aren't as many systems to interface, the vehicle only operates in two dimensions, and considerably less of the operation is automated. So why isn't its quality up to the same standard as avionics?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page