Electronic throttle control (ETC) is an automobile technology which severs the mechanical link between the accelerator pedal and the throttle. Most automobiles already use a throttle position sensor (TPS) to provide input to traction control, antilock brakes, fuel injection, and other systems, but use a bowden cable to directly connect the pedal with the throttle. An ETC-equipped vehicle has no such cable. Instead, the electronic control unit (ECU) determines the required throttle position by calculations from data measured by other sensors such as an accelerator pedal position sensor, engine speed sensor, vehicle speed sensor etc. The electric motor within the ETC is then driven to the required position via a closed-loop control algorithm within the ECU.

Advantages of Electronic Throttle Control System

  • Simplify vehicle design by dispensing with cables or linkages
  • Reduce noise paths into the passenger compart
  • Offer the ability to integrate a number of vehicle functions, such as cruise control, traction control and electronic stability control, without the need for additional hardware.
  • Allow the vehicle designer to tailor throttle response characteristics to the vehicle.
  • Can provide different, driver selectable, throttle response characteristics.

Drive by wire systems are designed to always fail safe meaning that the engine will always return to idle or near idle if a fault develops. Electronically actuated throttles are currently the most common form of drive by wire, and have largely replaced cables and linkages as the preferred method of controlling engine speed. Throttle-by-wire systems offer a range of benefits to the vehicle manufacturer, and the motorist.