Gas Pedals are Complicated

Robert Stratton robert.stratton at
Thu Jan 28 16:32:27 CST 2010

I had an Audi 5000 which was the poster child for unintended acceleration recalls. The only time I saw anything like that was with cruise control on, when a friend keyed a 2m HT near my dash and the throttle went wide open. We could even localize a sweet spot where it always worked. The purported fix was an interlock to only allow shifting into gear with the brake depressed which struck me as irrelevant. I can't help but wonder how many of the reported incidents may have occurred in close proximity to strong RFI. (Truckers with linear CB amplifiers perhaps?)

I not long ago exercised a leap of faith and bought a car that is brake-by+wire. The safety benefit from it is that if I rapidly take my foot off of the accelerator, it pre-positions the brake pads closer to the disc to minimize actuation time. I continue to have low-level anxiety about just how many if the code paths actually were exercised during regression testing.

Having read source code from both countries, I'm marginally more confident in the German software than the Japanese, but it was a good 5 years in service before I'd allow my travel agent to book me on an Airbus A320.

-- Bob S.
Frank Gentges wrote:

Well, we have heard a lot of stuff in the press about the gas pedal and 

Toyota.  Here is a deeper look than the normal news reporter can or will 


Katie Couric and company please stand aside as this is a problem for 

professionals. The solution is not obvious, at least at this time. 

There is some suggestion that it is caused by the modern fly-by-wire 

design of cars.


Frank K0BRA


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