Yesterday’s recall of 133,000 2010 Toyota’s Pruis hybrids isn’t the first time ABS braking software has been a problem. In fact, Toyota’s recall of 133,000 Prius hybrids and 14,500 Lexus hybrids is tiny compared to the mother of all electronic brake recalls. Mercedes recalled almost two million SL500s and E-Class vehicles in 2004-05 and ended up scrapping its brake-by-wire Sensotronic Brake Control system for its major models. Hailed as the future in 2001, Sensotronic brakes were developed at a pricetag of $173 million by Bosch and then DaimlerChrysler AG. The culprit? Faulty software. “The technology eliminates the mechanical link between the driver’s brake pedal and the brakes, substituting an electrical link that actuates the brake calipers. Customer complaints were linked to the failure of software for the brake system. When the system failed, the hydraulic system took over. But that resulted in a longer stopping distance and additional brake pedal effort by the driver,” according to an Autoweek story in December, 2005. Mercedes returned to conventional hydraulic brakes in its major models even though Mercedes insiders maintained the Sensotronic was better. Customers simply lost faith in the Sensotronic brakes. Mercedes is still scrubbing away the tarnish on its reputation. Of course, Toyota… Read full this story
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