With all the news reports regarding 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.
According to the CEO of Solutions Group, Mr Sean O'Neil, the device is another box of electronics that can intercept and modify signals to the engine throttle body from the electronic control unit (ECU). The wiring harness from the ECU to the throttle body is unplugged and connected to device, which is then plugged into the ECU. A second connector goes to the brake pedal switch. The brake pedal input provides the 5 volts needed to power the Decelerator.
As soon the driver applies the brake, the device boots up and starts comparing the throttle body control signal to the brake pedal. According to O'Neil, the patented algorithm looks for a sustained throttle control signal while the brake is being applied. If it sees such a condition, the micro-controller modifies the signal to start ramping down the throttle, gradually slowing the vehicle. As soon as the driver releases the brake the signal returns to normal.
Solutions Group claimed that the Decelerator device does not void the factory warranty and complies with all relevant Federal Communications Commission and European Union regulations. The device has been tested on at least six different Toyota models and found to work.