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Toyota Software Glitch Causes Faulty Speed Ratings

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On: Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 11:41AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Software Glitch Causes Faulty Speed Ratings

Breaking news in the Toyota unintended acceleration saga shows that the crash boxes used to record information such as the history of a vehicle’s speed, braking pressure, and throttle position may have had a "bug" in the mechanism that reads the speed of the vehicle. The crash box feeds information to the event data recorder, commonly referred to as the EDR which is the mechanism that records the history of occurrences leading up to accidents.

The crash box was reported to have had a bug in the software that reads the information, according to a recent automotive news article.

The news is a result of the ongoing investigation that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting regarding complaints of unintended acceleration in Toyota cars and trucks.

According to Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota Motor Co.’s VP of research and development, “Toyota has acknowledged previously that the event data recorders are not accurate, we have been able to determine that there is no defect in the event data recorders. We have found that there was a software bug in the event data recorder readers that download data." Uchiyamada also stated, "The bug had to do with data that indicated speed. The issue was discovered this past spring and has since been corrected."

As many as 3,000 complaints of unintended acceleration were investigated just last month by Toyota and the results supported the Japanese automaker’s position all along—that there were no faulty electronics causing vehicles to suddenly accelerate out of control. Toyota has pinpointed other possible causes of the unintended acceleration including driver error, foreign material getting caught under the accelerator pedal, and the use of other than factory floor mats which may have obstructed brake pedals—even after Toyota forewarned customers about the dangers of using such mats.

The NHTSA investigation concluded last month that brakes were not applied by drivers at all in as many as 35 out of 58 crashes that were blamed on Toyota. Federal regulators also concurred with Toyota’s statement that faulty electronics were not to blame, after reviewing the EDR information.

Although many critics were saying the EDR could not be trusted, Toyota reports that the only readings in the event data recorders that was inaccurate was the speed, vital information regarding the brake pressure, and other readings were not adversely affected by the “bug.”

According to Uchiyamada, many of the vehicles investigated early for sudden acceleration were rechecked, and he stated that “in the rechecks there has been no evidence of sudden surges.”


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