Even basic vehicles have at least 30 of these microprocessor-controlled devices, known as electronic control modules, and some luxury cars have as many as 100.
These electronic brains control dozens of functions, including brake and cruise control and entertainment systems. Software in each unit is also made to work with others. So, for example, when a driver pushes a button on a key fob to unlock the doors, a module in the trunk might rouse separate computers to unlock all four doors.
The 1977 Oldsmobile Toronado had a very simple computer unit that was used for spark-plug timing, and the next year the Cadillac Seville offered an optional trip computer that used a Motorola chip.
According to Bob Hrtanek, a spokesman for the auto supplier Delphi Powertrain Systems, the first Delphi units were introduced around 1980 to improve emissions systems.
Throttle-by-wire technology, also known as electronic throttle control, replaced cables or mechanical connections. In modern systems, when the driver pushes on the accelerator, a sensor in the pedal sends a signal to a control unit, which analyzes several factors (including engine and vehicle speed) and then relays a command to the throttle body. Among other things, throttle by wire makes it easier for carmakers to add advanced cruise and traction control features.
These systems are engineered to protect against the kind of false signals or electronic interference that could cause sudden acceleration.
A times the protection systems fail and cause some of the current problems Toyota Motor company is having. While being slow to respond, Toyota will take good care of their customers. However, when a recall this big occurs, and no one will argue that a sticky gas pedal is a safety issue, we feel it is important for our readers to know about it. Then the 2010 Prius has a braking issue, that is piling it on. Need a replacement engine? Call GotEngines.com @ 1-866-320-1065.