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Hyundai Now Includes Brake Override Technology on All New Cars

By Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports

By Joshua Condon May 4, 2012 11:29AM

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on MSN.

 

In the wake of the sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) crisis that rocked Toyota's safety reputation in 2009 and 2010, automakers have sped up implementation of smart-throttle technology, also known as brake override. With this safety feature, should a stuck throttle problem occur, the driver can intuitively apply the brake pedal and the engine management system will reduce the power, allowing the vehicle to quickly stop. The full Hyundai line starting with May production will come standard with brake override.

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering a mandate to require such technology, a move supported by Consumer Reports. (Read: "How to Improve U.S. Car Safety.") Other automakers, including General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen have already deployed this seamless technology across their portfolios.

 

Without a smart throttle, applying the brakes will not necessarily bring a car to quick or even a complete stop. (Read:"Consumer Reports demonstrates how 'brake ovveride' stops cars".)  While the potential causes posited for SUA during the Toyota investigation ranged from floor mat entrapment to an electronic glitch, simply having the brake pedal override the throttle would help the driver to come to a complete and controlled stop in most conceivable scenarios.

 

This is a good move on Hyundai's part, and we hope other automakers likewise roll out the technology to their full model lines.

 

 

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5Comments
May 4, 2012 12:57PM
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It still won't fix the cases of people who are holding the gas pedal to the floor thinking they're on the brake, which has been posited as a reason for some unintended acceleration cases.

What are the lawyers for those idiots going to claim happened when they try to sue the manufacturers now?

Another case of an additional expense for an additional nanny mandated by the government because it was demanded by safety groups and the insurance industry because the average driver is not capable of driving a car. The simply truth is that the average car is not able to overpower its brakes. Car & Driver proved that one or two years ago in a test with a Mustang GT. Floor the throttle with the right foot and stand on the brakes with the left foot and the car came to a stop, admittedly over a long distance, but it still stopped..
May 6, 2012 8:41AM
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This override should be mandatory on vehicles using drive by wire systems. Drive by wire has no throttle cable like the older vehicles have. The driver pushes the accelerator pedal, and the ECM decides if and when it should respond. Functions like throttle, steering and brakes should always be controlled by the driver, not the computer. ECM's can, and do fail. Most, if not all vehicles with push button start/ stop cannot be shut off unless the vehicle is stationary (manual trans.) or in park if equipped with automatic transmission.  
May 9, 2012 6:04AM
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This override should be mandatory on vehicles using drive by wire systems.

While I basically agree with you, the problem is that if you believe the Toyota party line, most of these "stuck gas pedal" incidents happen because people are stepping on the gas pedal while they think they're stepping on the brake pedal.  The override system doesn't address that scenario because you have to be stepping on the brake to activate it.....which makes me wonder whether it should be mandated at all......if you believe Toyota......who has now decided to make the override system standard in most of their cars.....which makes you wonder if they really believe their own propaganda about all those runaway Toyotas being caused by driver error.  Also makes you wonder why Toyota owners have had a disproportionately high number of unintended acceleration incidents compared to other makes.  Is there something deficient about the intellect/skill of Toyota drivers that causes these incidents, or is it really something about the design of the vehicle's systems that hasn't been revealed yet?

May 4, 2012 3:32PM
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I'm still baffled as to why all those Toyota/Lexus/Scion owners didn't just shift their vehicles into neutral and/or shut the engine off instead of driving to their deaths.  But, if they were too dumb to distinguish between the gas pedal and the brake pedal to begin with, I guess they were too dumb to do any of the above. 
May 5, 2012 12:10PM
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It just goes to show that people need more driver training before getting behind the wheel. One death was a cop for God's sake, he of all people should have been able to respond accordingly.
  Calling dead people names shows a lot of maturity Beltway. I wonder if you would have responded any better than a police officer that was trained to operate a vehicle under stressful circumstances, wife and kids screaming and crying.
  We would all like to think we would have responded accordingly but most are not educated about how their cars work and what can shut them down in an emergency.


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