Toyota Recall – Is it the Computer, not the gas pedal?

This post was written by marc on January 28, 2010
Posted Under: Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

As someone who has been in software for over 30 years I have to ask Toyota this question, “Have you ruled out the computer?” As I understand it the cars in question are all “drive by wire” cars. Unlike the cars I drove as a teen where the gas pedal was connected to the carborator with metal rods, these days the pedal is an input device that merely indicates to the car’s computer how fast the driver wishes to go. The computer is what directly controls the engine speed.

Even if the gas pedal was actually sticking the computer could be programmed to detect a faulty pedal and shut down the engine automatically upon fault detection. Such software would be trivial to implement and could save lives until the real problem is determined. However there seems to be evidence of cases that defy the pedal theory and that Toyota should be looking at the computer.

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