Posted by Neo on March 9, 2010, 10:59 am
Runaway 2008 Prius with stuck gas pedal reported in California
On March 8, 2010, California Highway Patrol assisted a runaway
2008 Blue Toyota Prius when allegedly its gas pedal got stuck
while driving on the California Freeway in San Diego County.
The 61-year old Prius Driver, James Sikes, used his cell phone
to called 911 at about 1:30 Pm after realizing that his Prius
accelerator pedal would not easing up after he had passed
another vehicle going eastbound on Interstate 8 near
La Posta ( near Lake Jennings Park Road/ Flinn Springs).
Mr. Sikes reported that his Prius accelerator pedal had
jumped while passing the other vehicle and had became
stuck in a position. Sikes' Prius reach about 90 mph
when the police car arrived about 20 minutes later. The
police car drove alongside the Sikes' Prius and used
a loudspeaker to instruct Mr Sikes to put the Prius
into neutral, apply the brake pedal to the floor, and
also to apply the emergency brake. Police officer Todd
Niebert said that he could smell Prius brakes burning
up and that he saw the Prius brake lights coming on. As
the Prius went up an upgrade, the Prius started to decelerated
to about 50mph; Sikes then turned off the engine and
the Prius coasted to a halt.The Police cruiser then came
up front the Prius and blocked it. Toyota has dispatched a field
technical specialist to San Diego to investigate this incident.
Posted by Obveeus on March 9, 2010, 2:13 pm
If the car is put in neutral, how is it that it was able to keep
going? Only a total idiot would pull the emergency brake rather than
simply putting the car in neutral.
...is the transmission/shift 'fly by wire' as well or is it safe to
say that the operator of this vehicle is simply lying and trying to
create a financial claim?
Posted by Elmo P. Shagnasty on March 9, 2010, 6:22 pm
Yes, it is.
But putting it into neutral with my foot on the floor at 78mph worked
just fine for me, not an hour ago. The drive disengages and the engine
goes to idle.
Posted by Obveeus on March 9, 2010, 6:37 pm
In that case, there is no way to predict the level of problems that could
occur in a software/electrical failure. Electronics get affected by
electrical fields, magnetic fluxes, sun spots, etc... Not to mention the
near impossibility of tracking down defects internal to a chip or circuit
(shift registers, up/down counters, timers, etc... that work 99.99999% of
the time correctly, but have no recovery mode if they do get out of step).
There are things that can take months to capture even with logic analyzers
and a myriad of attempts to test the conditions of the problem. Sometime
even attaching electrical test equipment can change the circuit enough that
it operates correctly.
Posted by Peter Granzeau on March 11, 2010, 11:13 pm
Brake lines fail. Accelerators stick. Mechanical Things Happen. The
worst component in a car is the nut behind the wheel. Making it
electronic does add another level of complication to an already
complicated machine. How many Prius have had some kind of runaway
incident? I've had a car accidentally hit a curb when I couldn't find
the brake with my foot (an admittedly dumb incident on my part), but I
could have claimed unintended acceleration, too. (By the way, that
required replacement of much of the front suspension.) I agree, it's
hard to see why it happened, but inasmuch as the gear shift and power
switch just signal for intended actions, a completely screwed up and
evidently frozen computer might have refused to do their intended
actions. However, it appears that in the widely reported incident,
shifting to neutral did indeed work, once they got the guy to try it. He
panicked, and did a LOT of things wrong.