Inside Toyota's Higashi-Fuji tech center – Click above for high-res image gallery
With all the news reports about issues with unintended acceleration in Toyotas in recent months, it was only a matter of time before an aftermarket company stepped up with a purported solution. Santa Barbara-based Solutions Group Inc. is now marketing a device called the Decelerator, which they claim provides a brake override to prevent the car from taking off on the driver.
If there's a silver lining in the rash of unintended acceleration claims that have popped up against Toyota as of late, it's that manufacturers from around the world are beginning to think about incorporating brake override systems in their products. General Motors has just announced that all of its vehicles with automatic transmissions and electronic throttle control will boast an "enhanced smart pedal" by 2012.
2010 Mazda6 – Click above for high-res image gallery
While all Toyota and Lexus models are expected to be sold with brake override systems by the end of 2010, there are still plenty in customers' hands that don't have the feature. A brake override system will effectively cut engine power if it senses the brake and gas pedals are being pressed at the same time, a handy feature if you find your car suddenly accelerating.
From the "things that should probably already be there" file comes the announcement that Toyota will be installing brake override systems in response to recent incidents of runaway cars. Toyota North America president Yoshi Inaba told Automotive News that the system will force the engine into idle if it senses the driver is trying to apply the brakes unsuccessfully.