Could Cosmic Rays Be to Blame for Sudden Acceleration?

FreePressGraphic
Here’s something we haven’t heard yet: Could radiation from space be linked to Toyota’s sudden-acceleration issues?

It sounds like science fiction, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is taking it seriously. Before you laugh, cosmic rays have long been known to trigger errors in the computer systems of airplanes and spacecraft, but after Toyota’s mechanical fixes for floormats and sticky pedals, regulators and automakers are wondering if cosmic rays could be an invisible culprit.

At least half of more than 1,500 complaints over sudden acceleration come from Toyota models not included in the 5.6 million already recalled vehicles. On top of this, an anonymous tip to regulators claimed that the design of Toyota’s microprocessors, memory chips and software possibly made its vehicles more vulnerable to these rays than other automakers.

Cosmic rays strike the atmosphere frequently, and electronics makers have known for a long time that these so-called “single event upsets” can cause computer errors, and now researchers say they at least deserve a look in the sudden-acceleration cases. Single event upsets can cause a software crash to occur without a trace and cannot be blocked like standard radio waves.

Are Cosmic Rays Really Causing Toyota’s Woes? (Detroit Free Press)

Comments 

Rich1

This has Maximum Overdrive writen all over it. Someone call Emelio Estevez. Unplug your appliances now!

Zack

Just order the paint sealant when you buy the new car. That's supposed to block cosmic rays along with acid rain, I think.

Piper

Having studied Toyota's electronic throttle system I find it difficult to imagine that electromagnetic interference or natural electrical shorts could outflank the system's double-redundant circuits and parallel control systems, even though wily college professors with patch boards certainly can when TV cameras are rolling. These incidents are nothing more than pedal misapplication.

A L

Why not wrap it in aluminum foil? I have a pretty nice fedora made from the stuff that keeps the Feds from reading my thoughts so it should work to keep cosmic rays at bay too! Uh oh... gotta go... the black helicopters are circling my house now!!!

Shorebreak

Enough of this. I'm buying a 1951 Chevrolet. Them "cosmic rays" won't mess with a good old car like that.

Derrick G

Well, on the plus side they can easily test out the system. Wonder if there are records of how much of this kind of activity has occured at specific times that could be plotted against the time of complaints? Still, this seems a really long shot.

Nic

I have an easier fix....lets just place the FCC label on the door jam that is found on a lot of electronic toys...

This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions:

(1) This device may not cause harmful interference, and

(2) This device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.

Dan

Wow, simply wow. That's really stretching to find an excuse.
Let's just all admit what we already know, this is the secret second step in the underpants gnomes secret plan.
1) Steal underpants
2) Create faulty acceleration in Toyotas while shortselling their stock
3) Profit

Jason

I personally think it's a conspiracy.

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