Monday, February 28, 2011

Toyota Recall for Software Re-Installation

Toyota is planning to recall approximately 400,000 of Prius hybrid cars for replacement of software which controls the antilock braking system (ABS.

Previously large number of drivers  in many cities have complained about poor braking performance under some conditions. It will see new software loaded into the car that should improve braking while ABS is active at low speeds, the company said.

Toyota customers were concerned and were sending the cars to dealers in order to resolve the problem completely.  At issue is a reduction in braking performance when the brakes are softly applied while the car is driving on slippery surfaces such as snow, ice, or even road surfaces that have been painted over.

In normal driving conditions, the cars use hydraulic brakes and a regenerative braking system to recover energy as they slow down, but when the ABS cuts in, the cars switch to hydraulic braking only, which can result in reduced braking performance and a longer stopping distance. Toyota didn't say how much longer that distance could be.

The problem only occurs under soft braking, Toyota said. Applying increased pressure on the brake pedal when ABS is in operation will give better brake performance, the company said.

The new software, already being installed in vehicles in production, will reduce the ABS response time, Toyota said. Toyoda said he had experienced the problem, which he called "a moment of anxiety," himself while driving a Prius on a Toyota test track. "The vehicle will stop if you apply pressure," he said.

The recall prolongs an unprecedented spell for Toyota in which the safety of its cars has been in the spotlight. Last month the company initiated a global recall of some of its cars due to problems with the accelerator pedal.

"Let me assure everyone that we will redouble our commitment to quality as a lifeline of our company," said Toyoda. "With myself taking the lead and keeping to the genchi genbutsu principle all of us at Toyota will tackle the issue in close cooperation with our dealers and our suppliers. Together, we will do everything in our power to regain the confidence of our customers

Installation of this new system began this month on Toyota Camry and Lexus ES350 models, which make up a large portion of vehicles included in the recall.

This initiative follows a recall of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States to fix the problem. Toyota stated the problem was due to floor mats becoming lodged under accelerator pedals; however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that floor mats were not necessarily the only cause.  These instances of unexpected accelerations have resulted in several injurious and, in some cases, fatal crashes. 

The new brake override software system will shift the engine to idle if it detects that the driver is attempting to apply the brakes without success. According to Toyota spokesman Mike Michels, “If the pedal is stuck, tampered with, no matter what the pedal is doing, the engine will go into idle.” 

This new system is expected to be a standard feature on all of Toyota’s vehicles by the end of the year.    

No comments:

Post a Comment