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Old 26th November 2016, 15:33   #31
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Default re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

What a terrible thing to have happened! Poor guy!

Bottom line first: Are we putting too much trust in automation?

The problem with the way automation in cars is implemented is that there is generally no manual override option. Some examples:

1) Push button starter - if it fails, there's no way of turning off the engine. The ECU also wouldn't allow the engine to switch off if the car is moving, such as in this case.

2) Automatic door locks - if the door lock is automatic without a manual latch and it fails, the passenger might not be able to open the door, whereas if a manual latch is present, the passenger could force the door lock to open.

3) DSG gearbox or similar - The 'box is controlled entirely by electronics. The only mechanical function of the gear lever is to engage the parking lock mode. Even this is sometimes automated.

4) Automatic parking brake - Motor actuated parking brakes cannot act as an emergency brake unlike a manually actuated one. Many luxury cars have this feature now.

5) Automatic braking - This can slow down or even stop the car in slow moving traffic. In my opinion this is a recipe for disaster because once you get used to this feature you become dependant on it. If the system fails at a critical moment, the driver may not have the presence of mind to press the brake in time.

In industrial automation, various safety measures are put in place to ensure safe operation. But comparing industrial automation to automation in cars is like comparing apples to oranges. Industrial automation requires and expects operators to be trained to deal with all possible anticipated situations. There is no such requirement for car drivers.

In an emergency, common sense can and often does, fly out of the window and panic can set in. There is nobody who can anticipate every possible emergency situation and expecting the car to save you is expecting too much from modern technology.
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Old 26th November 2016, 17:59   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mohan Mathew A View Post
Re-posting from the accident thread. Maybe some of you who have an Octavia knows the answer to my 2 question

What surprises me

1) Engine not switching off seems to suggest a larger electrical issue or is it some safety mechanism which prevents the engine from shutting down when the car is moving even if the switch is pressed.

2) The car not going into neutral. The car was obviously a DSG but you still should be able to move it into neutral or does the electronics in DSG stop you from moving into neutral at speeds

Maybe a combination of brakes + hand brake would have slowed him down somewhat to be able to try and do a controlled crash.
What I was thinking is, You could definitely drop some speed by shifting to tiptronic and take control of the car.
Nevertheless, Rest in Peace to the Victim and hope we don't get to see such incidents again.
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Old 26th November 2016, 20:29   #33
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Default Re: Pics: Accidents in India

RIP Mr.Gandhi.

As a Skoda Octavia user (a DSG, cruise control and KESSY equipped car) and a very frequent user of cruise control, this incident is worrying. The fact that the investigation so far has not explained the cause of the accident, makes it even worse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ph03n!x View Post
The Start-Stop button won't work when the car is in motion
The Octavia manual says:
Quote:
Emergency shutdown of the engine in vehicles with starter button
The system is equipped with a protective device against accidental switching
off, the engine can only be shut off while driving in the event of an emergency.
Keep the knob pressed or press it twice within 1 second
The driver or the 999-operator may not have been aware of this. Even I wasn't, till I checked the manual again today. So, we cannot be sure if there was a starter button failure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Sorry Sir, but that's not what happens. The brakes obviously failed. What happens in such a scenario is that, with the throttle stuck wide open and the drivetrain engaged, the car is surging ahead like a locomotive. Applying brakes in such a case would wear your brakes COMPLETELY in a matter of minutes if not seconds.
The report says there were no skid marks or evidence of braking. There is also no mention of the brakes being burned out. If he has standing on the brakes, there may also have been enough heat build up to cause a small fire. No mention of any such thing as well. Actually, the report mentions that there was no evidence of the problems described by the driver - so I assume they found no evidence of brake failure as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mohan Mathew A View Post
2) The car not going into neutral. The car was obviously a DSG but you still should be able to move it into neutral or does the electronics in DSG stop you from moving into neutral at speeds
I have once put the DSG to neutral while in motion, by mistake. The speed was about 40-50kmph.
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Old 26th November 2016, 22:18   #34
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Default re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

This is very sad to hear, but I can't imagine how nothing could be done. There are some options -

1) Shift to neutral - Shifters usually depend on the brake pedal being pressed, and the shift lock button being pressed too. But normally to shift from D to N the shifter can just be moved up, without requiring anything else.

2) Downshifted the gear - Moving the gearbox into manual or using paddles would have downshifted the gears. I can't imagine how this didn't work either.

3) Braked - I am of the understanding that vehicles brakes are always more powerful than the engine. Meaning if the brakes were fully jammed, they would slow down the car even if it were at wide open throttle. And in this case the vehicle was not at wide open throttle, because it was doing 150 odd kmph when it crashed.

4) Put off the engine - Again all vehicles do put the engine off even if moving, by holding down the starter button.

I can't imagine that all of these systems failed at the same time. Something seems fishy here.
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Old 26th November 2016, 22:52   #35
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Default re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

RIP.
I feel very sad about this incident. All this technology is nice but there should be a manual override control in every car in case of an emergency.

I mean technology can never be as good as human instincts and presence of mind.

And this was just an old Skoda. Can't imagine what all can happen if electronics fail in these so called high tech automated driving teslas.
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Old 27th November 2016, 02:04   #36
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Very sad. I see a few of these stories every year in various countries. In nearly all cases there is nothing wrong with the car or the electronics. Or at least nothing they can find after the crash. That does beg the question what is going on. When i read these stories I must admit I find it very difficult to imagine there is anything fundamentally wrong with the electronics. I would say maybe somethin mechanical, something's stuck, or maybe something as simple as a floormat that pushes on the throttle.

There is one other factor and that is simply driver error. Doesn't matter whether you are an experienced driver. Everybody makes mistakes and if the car all of a sudden starts doing something unexpectedly fact is that most people would panic.

Without data it's very difficult to come to some sort of conclusion. But the fact remains that statistically speaking driver error is much more likely then a problem with the car.

Jeroen

Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2016 at 11:10. Reason: Typo
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Old 27th November 2016, 06:08   #37
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Scary story. What surprises me is the guy had the presence of mind to call the cops and speak to them, and this still happened. It is possible for someone to accidentally step on the accelerator instead of the brake in panic mode. And we all know about the Toyota floor mat issue from 5-6 years ago. So agree driver error or a stuck accelerator is a likely cause. But this happening to someone with presence of mind is scary.

Sometimes wonder about the risks with cars driven by electronics with reprogramming possible. How tough would it be for someone to write a routine that does something like this and remains undetected - and to flash it onto a car? As we move towards connected cars, these risks will rise - cyber security for cars is going to be critical.
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Old 27th November 2016, 08:30   #38
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Exclamation re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Years back I met a brake failure (I was 20 then) and ended up hitting an auto rickshaw from behind. The car in question was a corolla D-4D and it was a manual without cruise control etc. Here is a link to the incident:
Brake Failure Incident

After that particular incident, I have done a bit of research on brake failure and accelerator + brake situations and drew out a couple of conclusions too. In fact I have ended up making a couple of discoveries too during the experiments I conducted with hand brake etc.

RIP the departed soul, 8 minutes of trauma was enough to make anyone go out of senses. There are only two probabilities:
1) Electronics taking over everything
2) Incomplete knowledge of the system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by veedub89 View Post
In a car with a start-stop button, the key needs to be present inside the car for it to start. So if you throw the key outside, the engine might cut off. Not too sure about this though.
Well, sir if you throw the key out; absolutely nothing will happen. Just wish that the car won't bog down after going a kilometer or two. Don't ask me how I know this, I have paid by being fooled at a signal after playing mischievous with a friend. Accidentally turned the engine off, and then it started asking for the key!

Quote:
There are other ways too. You could potentially start scraping the car into the guardrails present on most highways. The frictional losses should give some deceleration.
The result could have been something like this (Definitely not recommended. For a solid median, it can be done) :
Name:  i20.JPG
Views: 2637
Size:  86.2 KB

Quote:
Maybe hitting a moving lorry could also help. The relative velocity will be lesser and the impact should disable the car's systems. The guard rails will prevent the car from going beneath the lorry.
In case everything seems to be out of control, hitting a fast moving lorry or bus from behind can be the safest possible option IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchumiFan View Post
Hitting the brake pedal cancels the cruise control. Also one can switch off the thing completely.
I guess it was an electronic malfunction. Maybe some wrong feedback signal from any sensor has rose up a bug in the code.

Quote:
Was hand breaks not working too?
I don't think Octavia has electronic handbrake, the mechanical one must perfectly work here but won't help until the engine stops pulling.

Quote:
Would have paddle shifts worked? If he had shifted down manually using paddle shifts?
I have tried this once (Maybe it works on DSG) but the pedal shifters won't shift lower than the minimum possible gear ratio required to maintain the speed the cruise control is engaged to work at.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shifu View Post
There can be a lot of 'what-ifs', but from the underlined sentence above is it possible that there was some loose floor mat or something that depreseed the accelerator pedal and the driver attributed the acceleration to the cruise control?
There is a huge possibility of that too. What has rose my eyebrows is the fact that accelerator pedal was fully depressed. If it was a mat or stuck pedal then how it got released 1.5 seconds prior to the accident? Additionally the accelerator pedal can't be fully depressed earlier too, else the car would have hit the top whack of it easily in 8 minutes. Maybe in desperate attempts to get things under control, he tried to press accelerator pedal too with a bleak hope that it may disengage the devil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greatestmj View Post
Today I tried a few things in my Honda City Automatic. I went to low traffic 4 lane road and at speed of 70-80 kmph I pressed start stop button once. Nothing happened. I then pressed twice and my car shut off. But I could still steer a bit and safely went off lane to sides while car was slowing down due to friction maybe. Then I tried breaks too, it was partial breaking as well. I didn't have much guts to slowly try hand break as I thought its risky.

At 70-80 I also tried using paddle shifts and downshifted slowly from 7th to 6th, 5th eventually till 3rd and each downshift was slowing down the car. If someone is in trouble downshifting can help, it may hurt the gearbox if you downshift to 1 or 2 but Atleast person can be safe?
One can try the following while having their car parked:
  • Turn the engine off and press the brake pedal multiple times. Initially it will go down completely like it does while driving with engine ON. Then it starts becoming hard with each pumping you do.
  • Turn the steering wheel within say 5 seconds of turning the engine OFF, it still has a bit of assist and you an turn it quite easily. Additionally on a running car, even if the assist fails, the steering wheel still works.

What my experience says is that even if you turn off the ignition by continuous pressing of button or via the key, you still can brake the car as the first pump will give you enough of the braking force Not releasing the pedal will keep the shoes stuck to the disc quite firmly giving you enough of the stopping power to come to a halt. Additionally hand brake can help, but one needs to be very cautious with this stick. If the handbrake is an electronic unit, better don't even think about it. If it's a mechanical one then pull it to the point where it starts becoming tight (The point where shoes start braking but don't lock) and leave it at that position itself so that you can have braking force as well as control altogether; this method needs a long distance to come to a halt from 100 kph though, if being done on an automatic car in N mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarrySky View Post
The driver or the 999-operator may not have been aware of this. Even I wasn't, till I checked the manual again today. So, we cannot be sure if there was a starter button failure.
Quite a possibility, user manuals are read by fewer than a few after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akshay1234 View Post
1) Shift to neutral - Shifters usually depend on the brake pedal being pressed, and the shift lock button being pressed too. But normally to shift from D to N the shifter can just be moved up, without requiring anything else.
There is a probability of the shifter sensors gone bad (It is basically nothing but a shifter position sensor only after all). If a sensor is gone bad then even if you shift to R; it won't work.

Quote:
2) Downshifted the gear - Moving the gearbox into manual or using paddles would have downshifted the gears. I can't imagine how this didn't work either.
I have personally tried it, it doesn't work. If cruise control is engaged then it only shifts down to minimum ratio required for that speed. Say third cog at 120 kph for Octy 1.8. But I haven't tried it in a dual clutch one and won't recommend anyone doing it with a DSG (They are already delicate gearboxes). For TC and CVT boxes, it is the way I have mentioned; but I can be wrong, I haven't driven every car with TC or CVT after all.

Quote:
3) Braked - I am of the understanding that vehicles brakes are always more powerful than the engine. Meaning if the brakes were fully jammed, they would slow down the car even if it were at wide open throttle. And in this case the vehicle was not at wide open throttle, because it was doing 150 odd kmph when it crashed.
With due respect sir, you are absolutely wrong here. For the cars like Alto 800; it can be possible. For a car with an engine like 1.8 TSi or 2.0 TDi; the torque from engine (Gearbox and final drive already multiplies it a lot) is more than enough to prove the brakes puny. Going by the FOS; the propulsion shafts are strong enough that they also won't wreck and keep transmitting the torque to the driving wheels with brakes simply keep on burning. The cruise control will detect the load (It's a simple looping function + fuzzy logic), shift down a cog and the engine will pull harder. Then it will shift an another gear down and the massive wave of torque from engine will simply dwarf the brake force.
For a RWD car, pressing full brakes and full throttle won't do anything (I have done this with a Safari VX). The engine will drive the rear wheels and ABS will make sure that front wheels also will initially brake and then get back into a speed synchronous to the rear ones. For a FWD car, the handbrake can be pulled at max with brakes; the rear wheels may get locked at max, either the tyres will burn or the vehicle will overturn. But if the engine is powering the wheels (That means no neutral possible), and is not under control, the the driver can at max steer it into some obstacle like a fast moving truck. It's like selecting the smaller of the two evils.

Quote:
4) Put off the engine - Again all vehicles do put the engine off even if moving, by holding down the starter button.
Probability of insufficient knowledge here.

Last edited by VKumar : 27th November 2016 at 08:34.
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Old 27th November 2016, 09:41   #39
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Default re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

A similar incident happened back in 2012 where a lady driving a Kia Sorrento lost control of her SUV when the accelerator pedal got stuck. She spent a harrowing ordeal trying various probabilities from pushing hard on the brakes to frantically calling 911. A mind numbing ordeal before the accelerator pedal finally got free and the raging SUV came to a halt.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...icle-1.1145723

In such scenarios trying to switch off the vehicle using the key would be the worst decision as it would cut the power to the power steering and it would be impossible to steer your car clear of any traffic ahead.
Trying to push the gear to Neutral/Park mode in case of automatics and wait till the car decelerates would be the best solution.

On a personal note one of the many reasons I prefer my cars to have less electronic and more mechanical stuff since when electronics come to play things are bound to go haywire some day or the other. Same goes for the over dependency on automatic features like cruise control that make the driver less aware of his surroundings and more dependent on the machine.
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Old 27th November 2016, 22:16   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyline_GT View Post
In such scenarios trying to switch off the vehicle using the key would be the worst decision as it would cut the power to the power steering and it would be impossible to steer your car clear of any traffic ahead.
.

Whether you have electric or hydraulic power steering, if the engine cuts out, you can still steer. It will be heavier, but especially as you are rolling at speed, it shouldn't be a huge problem
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Old 28th November 2016, 09:52   #41
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Default re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Slightly OT,

Lets all learn the important lesson from this incidence. Many of us modify cars on various scales (DIY / Professional route). At times, it requires fiddling up with car's electrical system as well. Some of us even flash ECUs. A software bug / incorrect wiring can cause big damage.

So while modifying our cars, lets also think about developing the FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) for the respective modifications so that risks can either be eliminated or can be faced with minimal effects.
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Old 28th November 2016, 11:23   #42
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

R.I.P. Mr. Gandhi

Quote:
Originally Posted by vharihar View Post
if you keep the START/STOP button pressed for 3 seconds, the engine should stop.
Very useful tip, thanks. In today's cars where everything from the steering to gear shifter is electronically controlled, things can get scary indeed.

I suggest everyone read up on the hidden tips & tricks of the cars they own. For instance, in my BMW F10, pulling & holding the electronic parking brake switch at speed 'rapidly slows the car down'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Whether you have electric or hydraulic power steering, if the engine cuts out, you can still steer. It will be heavier, but especially as you are rolling at speed, it shouldn't be a huge problem
Just ensure that you don't remove the key & make the steering lock!
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Old 28th November 2016, 12:08   #43
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

RIP.
I can't even imagine the sheer amount of mental torture the guy might have faced during those 8 minutes hoping to find a way to escape this chaos.

A friend of mine who also owns an Octavia had faced Cruise Control failure at speeds of 100kph, he mentioned the car was slowly speeding up itself which he wasn't aware of, upon noticing and trying to cancel Cruise Control, he couldn't. Although in his case, braking disengaged Crusie Control and he didn't have to face any chaotic situations. I'll need to ask him if he or the ASS guys figured what exactly caused the failure and if it was fixed without fail.

I've been using Cruise Control on my City pretty much everytime I'm on a highway but this incident makes me think if I should actually always rely on electronics above my own conscious.
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Old 28th November 2016, 14:32   #44
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

RIP!
Sad and Horrifying!

Okay, the Octavia is equipped with a MKB(Multi collision Braking) if i am not wrong.
This is a system which when detects a collision, automatically applies brakes even if the driver has not.
Couldn't have the driver simulated and induced a collision by just nudging the median or the end rails considering that he was at such high speeds?

http://www.skoda-auto.co.in/models/octavia/safety

This just may sound stupid, but something is better than nothing, when all things have failed and you are certainly facing death right in your face!
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Old 28th November 2016, 15:16   #45
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

RIP

However, how to establish in this case that the car electronics where completely at fault. How can that also lead to a mechanical failure? As per the data in that news article, brakes where never applied. How can everything including mechanical freeze altogether?
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