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Old 28th November 2016, 15:37   #46
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Horrifying. RIP Mr. Gandhi.

I used cruise control a lot on my earlier Laura and Aria. But don't use it that much on the BMW X3 30d. The intent of using cruise control for me has to been to give some relief to my right leg which is constantly toggling between Accelerator and Brakes. But with Auto Hold feature in modern cars this is significantly reduced and one gets period of relief.

Fiddling with and holding down the Start Stop button and Park Hold Buttons (if present) would help. Else pulling on the Parking Brake gradually in an increasing manner should definitely help if there is a manual brake lever.

Next gradually scrapping against solid side barriers should help. (But these are not always present and it can also result in one loosing control.)

Banging on the rear of Heavy trucks with low barriers already going at speed would also help. Also post say an impact with such a truck the Fuel supply should automatically be cut off in modern cars like the Octavia. Mr. Gandhi may not have been able to find a sufficiently fast truck considering the speed that he was already doing or may not have thought of that.

I have a feeling that all electronics sort of shorted due to some reason and left only the accelerator active. Also it is not clear why he was forced to leave the highway and hit the stationary truck in the lay bay. Hitting anything stationary especially solid stuff like a truck at those speeds would have a bad result.

Since he was driving alone he could have also considered impact with a moving truck on the passenger side half. It would still be a big impact but could have saved him. Additionally to save himself, moving his seat to the rear most position was an option if considering a half side impact with a truck.

We can't imaging what the driver was going through. It is very easy to consider solutions like this sitting in an office like I am right now.

I have been through 3 brake failures in my life time. Once in 1956 Dukkar model Fiat (with even the parking brake not working.). And twice with the Safari TCIC with Alternator belt failure leaving the vehicle without sufficient power assist for the brakes. But in all cases the speeds were low, I was alone twice and with full family once. Twice I managed to drive a few kms till my home using just the parking brake etc. Now throw in an Accelerator and a gear lever gone crazy and that is an impossible situation with not just the brakes not working but the accelerator stuck. Sad.

I think there was a catastrophic failure of the primary chip in the main ECU and all systems were stuck in last position. The mechanical bits probably worked but the Gear shifter in a modern AT just sends signals to other electronics as also with the brakes, there may have been no processing of the signals being sent as the ECU itself probably was not working or rather "Hung" like with a Microsoft PC hanging up.

It is a rare incidence for the Octavia so will for now like to presume that this was a combination of multiple failures due to some external factors.

Toyota though has had thousand plus such cases caused due to accelerator failure that they were aware of and hid for a while.

Last edited by SDP : 28th November 2016 at 16:54. Reason: Minor typo
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Old 28th November 2016, 15:49   #47
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

It is also important that nothing should be kept under the driver seat. I have seen many drivers keep water bottles, tools under the seat and there is every chance that this can roll under the brake pedal and prevent you from using the brake pedal.
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Old 28th November 2016, 17:03   #48
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder_p8 View Post
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?
With everything (esp accelerator, brakes, steering) controlled "by-wire", its easily possible that a major electronic failure can cause a loss of control over the mechanicals. So one might be pressing the brake pedal, but either the signal not reaching the ECU or the ECU not being able to send a signal to the actual braking system is quite possible.
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Old 28th November 2016, 17:21   #49
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Just ensure that you don't remove the key & make the steering lock!

Absolutely! How does this work on keyless cars? At what point or waht trigger the steering lock? It must be some electrical mechanical device and I'm sure some safeties are built in, so it doesnt engage whilst the car is still rolling.

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Old 28th November 2016, 18:09   #50
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
With everything (esp accelerator, brakes, steering) controlled "by-wire", its easily possible that a major electronic failure can cause a loss of control over the mechanicals. So one might be pressing the brake pedal, but either the signal not reaching the ECU or the ECU not being able to send a signal to the actual braking system is quite possible.
I don't think the brakes and steering are "by wire "in most cars yet. Yes, they do have hydraulic/electric assist but it is not "by wire", yet. There are direct mechanical/hydraulic linkages connecting the steering to the wheel and the brake pedal to the brakes.

Accelerator of course is increasingly becoming "by wire".

Last edited by Mohan Mathew A : 28th November 2016 at 18:17.
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Old 28th November 2016, 20:43   #51
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

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Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post
Quite an unforntunate incident. To his bad luck, he was in much higher speeds. So hitting the handbrake though possible might have created more disastrous sc
======
Sounds like a bad way to attempt suicide. I mean why would you call emergency services and leave audio evidence?
Maybe to CREATE a proof that he indeed died in an accident and didnt commit suicide probably so that his family could get insurance. However this is a mere speculation and my condolences are with his family. May the soul rest in peace.
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Old 28th November 2016, 21:51   #52
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder_p8 View Post
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?
Just curious. How exactly do the investigators know if the brakes are applied/not applied and other driver inputs? I think they would decode some commands recorded in the ECU I suppose.

Now imagine, the ECU may have been faulty and thus would be the cause of such an accident. Would reading data from the faulty ECU be reliable enough to conclude the findings?

Need some expert help please.
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Old 28th November 2016, 21:52   #53
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Very scary. Just read the article and I was shocked!

At the cost of sounding pessimistic, it is high time automakers review the amount of electronics integration in to the mechanicals of a car. Maybe they ought to take a call and reduce some bit of those electronics and give the driver more control and responsibility as was the case earlier.

Last edited by WAM-4 : 28th November 2016 at 21:53. Reason: Grammatical error corrected.
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Old 28th November 2016, 22:29   #54
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
In my BMW F10, pulling & holding the electronic parking brake switch at speed 'rapidly slows the car down'.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dushyanth View Post
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.
Exactly same is my point, if I am not wrong then once the airbags have popped open; the vehicle comes to a rapid stop. Something like what GTO has mentioned about the parking brake thing (I shall try this for sure in a BMW, it seems to be a very thoughtfully added safety feature for such scenarios only and is a 'must know' for owners).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACM View Post
Banging on the rear of Heavy trucks with low barriers already going at speed would also help. Also post say an impact with such a truck the Fuel supply should automatically be cut off in modern cars like the Octavia. Mr. Gandhi may not have been able to find a sufficiently fast truck considering the speed that he was already doing or may not have thought of that.
IMO this any ways could have been the safest possible way. Buckled up, hands tightly holding the wheel and seat pushed to back. He could have spotted some truck and struck it from back right at the center (Side hit may have caused an intrusion of collision forces into the cabin). If a moving truck is not much loaded then it also can get pushed a bit towards the font and hence the collision energy won't be completely dissipated at the point of contact itself. That could have been a saving grace here, had I been in such a scenario; maybe this was the only thing I would have looked for. Even if the car tries to move after hitting the lorry (for some reason nothing works) then also the brakes of the lorry will stop the car for sure (Driver will apply them for sure after experiencing a rear hit).

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We can't imaging what the driver was going through. It is very easy to consider solutions like this sitting in an office like I am right now.
Count me in, I am doing this resting in a bed!
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Old 29th November 2016, 03:57   #55
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

RIP.

Very scary story.

With more and more automation in car by electronics/hardware, we rely solely on whims and fancies of these system.

They may not work sometime and you will be at their mercy.

Reminds me of some episode where car caught fire after accident and doors did not get unlocked because the auto-door locking mechanism dependent on electronics had gone kaput.

For every electronic feature there should be a manual over-ride button in case of emergency like accidents or when electronics just refuse to behave as it should normally.
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Old 29th November 2016, 04:08   #56
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enobarbus View Post
In a car with a key start, one can pull out the key.
No You Can't! See GTO's comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixantz View Post
You are forgetting a critical point here my friend. Most or all of the major controls for driving and controlling a car including steering, brakes, clutch and accelerator are almost always dependant on the car being ON to function. Either they are electrical or then hydraulic.

So that means that they completely or partially(in case of hydraulic) cease to function if the car turns off. ...
It takes no effort to steer a car travelling at higher than manoevering speeds. The steering may become a little heavier. Maybe not as much as not having enough air in the tyres.

It takes a lot of effort to stop a car using the brakes without the servo assist from the engine. Literally, stand on the pedal. But it will work. I suspect that some may not be aware of how much weight is needed, and may think that the brakes are not working at all, because, with "normal" pressure, they won't

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 brakes too, it was partially braking as well. I didn't have much guts to slowly try hand brake 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?
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Just ensure that you don't remove the key & make the steering lock!
I was sitting in the car of one of my great driving gurus. We were on a picturesque slope into a water-side village, in a queue of cars waiting to board a ferry. It was slow moving and she had turned the engine on. As the cars began to move, she let the car coast a little way down the hill, but braked sharply on approaching the hairpin bend. I looked at at her enquiringly. She looked back sheepishly and said... I forgot the steering lock . Sometimes our best lessons from our gurus come from their mistakes!

And now my turn for speculation.

With an old-fashioned automatic, if desperate, I'd slam it into reverse, in the hope that the resultant mess of metal in the gear box might stop the car. But it might not: I know someone who did this accidentally, and all it destroyed was the reverse gear. I suppose a DSG box will simply reply, I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that

I don't understand not trying the handbrake. If applied gently and progressively, would this stop the car under control without spinning? (Actually, that is the sort of question that my lady guru, mentioned above, could probably have answered, but even she made that silly mistake with the steering lock).

This would be a terryfing situation... but some things take less courage than others, and I would rank using the handbrake as much less terrifying than hitting something hard head on. I'd be more scared of running up against the barrier. Bariers in UK are designed to be hit. That's what they are for. I wouldn't expect a gruesome scene like that in the earlier post. But I would have no clue how and where the car would bounce with even a glancing high-speed contact,

Let us fervently hope never to be in this situation.
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Old 29th November 2016, 07:54   #57
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

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Originally Posted by Enobarbus View Post
RIP Mr. Gandhi

Sounds like a scene straight out of a horror movie. I don't understand why he didn't apply brakes normally. Was there a brake failure as well? Are the brakes in the Skoda Octavia electronically controlled?
I too have the same doubt. I am sure that the brakes are hydraulic and have a vacuum assisted function which cannot be overrided. He should have brakes with him unless he was using them and they overheated and stopped working. The ABS would not kick in so early though to stop brake from functioning.

We all know that the engine grunt is higher than the brake pedal power. So, maybe if he stood on the brakes, the brakes in the front would not work but the brakes in the back would lock up and decelerate the car. I would jump out of the car into the median then if I were him.

Still, the lesser electronics, the better the car is according to me.
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Old 29th November 2016, 08:20   #58
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Rest In Peace Sri Gandhi.

Besides such a huge legacy of Volkswagen group, It's an unbelievable accident on the whole.

I assume, Mr. Gandhi must have tried all the options before he died. Who knows, the doors might have locked as well.

As aveemashfaq said, less fancy is good and perhaps it would serve pleasure driving too.
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Old 29th November 2016, 08:36   #59
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Absolutely! How does this work on keyless cars? At what point or waht trigger the steering lock? It must be some electrical mechanical device and I'm sure some safeties are built in, so it doesnt engage whilst the car is still rolling.

Jeroen
Hello,

In a keyless car, the steering gets locked when any of the doors is opened. When I say opened, it means physically opened, not just unlocked.

(Based on experience of owning a Verna with keyless entry and a start stop button)

Last edited by drive2eternity : 29th November 2016 at 08:52.
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Old 29th November 2016, 10:12   #60
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Default Re: Skoda Octavia: Cruise Control malfunction! Mumbai-born UK-based driver dead

This is some scary stuff. I just told my friends who have cars with cruise control to not to use this feature. I don't think keeping the accelerator pedal depressed is too difficult to give our lives in the hands of some electronics!! I understand it might be a rarest of rare case, but still.

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.
We just tried this in my friend's S-Cross (1.3). We switched the car on and then I took the key in my pocket and walked away for at least 300m. The car engine did not cut itself off. He could engage the gear and even drive away. Only thing is, once he switched the engine off (by pressing the on/off button), he could not restart the engine. I feel along with safety, it is a security issue as well.
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