Akio Toyoda refuses to come to America – brake override

Lou Ann Hammond talks to John Batchelor, host of the John Batchelor radio show, about Toyota.

America is the largest market for Toyota, but Toyoda is not going to come to America. Instead Yoshimi Inaba, the head of Toyota North America, is being called to Congress about the recalls and the halting sales of 8 very popular models.

Now the Toyota Prius is going to recalled for braking.

Toyota has been known as a car company that had bland designs, but great quality and reliability. Toyota has made billions of dollars on their image of reliability.

It is why it comes as such a shock that Toyota was not on the forefront of safety. If one has an electronic throttle control it would only take a software program to override the throttle.

In the old days car companies used cable operated throttle so that you could put the pedal to the metal.

So, what is brake override and which auto manufacturers have it and which don’t?

Toyota will fix that problem. Toyota will start putting brake-over-ride in their Toyotas starting with the Sienna and Avalon.

Audi had sudden acceleration and they redesigned their pedals back in the ’80s. Audi’s brake override has  always been connected to drive by wire throttle systems, in other words the inputs to a gas pedal are electronically controlled and there isn’t a cable.  With manual or automatic models, all Audi models have had integrated electronic brake override and drive by wire since model year 2000, so the technology has been in testing since at least the mid 1990s.

VW has had brake override since 1993, Nissan since 2002.  Mazda, Subaru, and Honda all say they don’t have it.

Honda spokeswoman Christina Ra said that “Honda and Acura vehicles do not apply any override logic between brake and accelerator pedal inputs. . . . We continue to accept application of the accelerator and brake pedals as representing the driver’s intention.

Volvo says they have a diagnostic system designed to disengage the throttle if it receives false signals. The brakes, howe’ver, are stronger than the power generated with a fully opened throttle. Stopping distances would of course be increased, but the vehicle would stop.

BMW and Rolls-Royce has had fully electronic throttles for nearly 25 years ago.

Working through the DSC and ABS, if BMW’s system detects a hard stab on the brake pedal while the throttle is still open, it interprets that as an emergency stop maneuver and cuts the throttle.  The engine stays running and therefore, the power steering and brakes, as well as all the electronics remain operational.

Chrysler Group began implementing the smart brake in 2003. We saw the opportunity to use the system as an additional security measure for the driver. When a disagreement exists between the throttle and the brake, the brake signal causes the engine controller to reduce engine power, allowing the operator to stop the car.

Hyundai has started with brake override with the Genesis and will have it in their new Sonata.

General Motors has brake override in their high performance vehicles.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.