NHTSA, NASA Find No Fault in Toyota Electronics

After a 10-month study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA found nothing wrong with Toyota’s electronic throttle in connection with the cases of unintended acceleration. They did find issues with the previously discovered — and repaired — mechanical problems: the accelerator and the floormats, the New York Times reported this afternoon.
 
Those problems led to the recall of 12 million Toyotas, and those recalls led to a slump in new-car sales for the automaker, which continues to lag the industry as it rebounds from two of its worst years ever.

According to the Times:

“[Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood said NASA engineers ‘rigorously examined’ nine Toyotas driven by consumers who complained of unintended acceleration. NASA reviewed 280,000 lines of software code to look for flaws that could cause the acceleration. Investigators tested mechanical components in Toyotas that could lead to the problem and bombarded vehicles with electro-magnetic radiation to see whether it could make the electronics cause the cars to speed up.”
 
Despite finding no electronic problems, LaHood and NHTSA are still considering adding new safety features to all cars, including:
  • A brake override system, likely in the same vein as the system Toyota has now added to all its new cars
  • Standardizing keyless ignition systems
  • Requiring event data recorders, much like the “black boxes” found on jetliners

Electronic Flaws Did Not Cause Toyota Problems, U.S. Says (New York Times)

By Patrick Olsen | February 8, 2011 | Comments (13)

Comments 

Tom Moore

On October 17, 2010 My wife was driving our 2005 Lexus RX330 into our garage at less than 10 mph. On my way up the driveway, she put her foot on the brake pedal. While her foot was on the brake pedal, the car made a noise and accelerated forward. Pressing on the brake as hard as she could, she eventually forced the car to stop right before hitting the garage cabinets. Later I (her husband) started the vehicle in the park position. When I stepped on the brake, the RPM’s zoomed from 1,000 rpm to 3000 rpm (racing the engine). I was able to duplicate this dangerous phenomenon FOUR CONSECUTIVE times. Simply stated, the BRAKE WAS ACTING AS AN ACCELERATOR. It was not driver error. We attempted to videotape the problem, but couldn’t recreate the situation. Upon further investigation we found dozens other incidents filed through the National Highway Transportation Administration of the years 2002-06, similar make, and model as our vehicle. We consider ourselves credible witnesses to the problem, considering both my wife and I experienced the extremely dangerous mechanical anomaly and are not attempting to sue for property damage or personal injury. The fact is that it is a very rare occurrence, but there is unequivocally a "electronic-based cause for unintended acceleration." The researchers are dead wrong.

Dave Scott

Are you going to post that story on every site Tom? Amazing how you were able to duplicate this FOUR CONSEQUTIVE TIMES but when you went to film it, it stopped. Whatever.

H

Why did NASA engineers work on this? Don't they have their own work to do?

Jonathan Burri

It is Impossible for a mechanical brake pedal to operate an electronic accelerator. Yes there is a switch on the brake pedal which runs the brake lights and the shift gate which are both seperate systems. You also stated "mechanical anomaly" in your findings therfore not electronic. Get new floor mats.

H
I Believe NASA was brought in over the electromagnetic wave theory that some thought might be causing the issue.

Amuro Ray

It's the SUN, I'm telling u all. Every 11 years, the dark spots will come, and affect all electronics.

That's why NASA's there.

hahaha

Tony

"...My wife was driving our 2005...On my way up the driveway, she put her foot on the brake pedal..."

Yea yea yea. We know all that.

If the Toyotas behaved like this, considering how many of them on the road we would see something more substantial then a guy driving Prius and purposely shaving his brakes off.

Tell your wife to either wear snickers when driving or fasten floor mats to the floor so they don't go under the pedals.

65Chrysler300

How would standardizing keyless ignition systems help anything?

JR

hey tom, maybe you and your wife have wide feet that you stepped on both the brake and accelerator pedals at the same time.... unbelievable....

John Madden

At last, vindication. 60 Minutes attempt to run another automaker out of business has failed, just like when they attempted to run Audi out of business. Oh, and requiring brake override systems is a really stupid idea.

accelerated

Anyone who has not experienced sudden unintended acceleration is not qualified to render a valid judgment on this tecnologically complicated conundrum. My 2007 Toyota 4Runner (not a recall vehicle) suddenly lurched into an intersection with oncoming cars with my foot firmly on the brake--period. I was very lucky there was no collision and I instantly pushed the gear shift forward, it then actually moved through neutral into reverse and the wheels spun backwards--but I was already in the intersection. No problem showed up in the onboard computer. Continuing to try to identify the problem by looking at onboard computers expecting to find the problem is insanity as NASA proved. Uncontrolled cars are lethal weapons despite the financial liability of the car maker. Denial of the problem and blame of drivers (documented experiences are numerous) or of carpet or sticky pedals is unethical and many lives continue to be endangered by this "proven nonproblem."

Amuro Ray

"Anyone who has not experienced sudden unintended acceleration is not qualified to render a valid judgment on this tecnologically complicated conundrum."

By your own statement, you're really saying that both NHTSA & NASA's tests weren't valid.

Right...

"Continuing to try to identify the problem by looking at onboard computers expecting to find the problem is insanity as NASA proved. "

No, it's not insanity. NASA has done it successfully. "NASA reviewed 280,000 lines of software code to look for flaws that could cause the acceleration. "

"Denial of the problem and blame of drivers "

So far, NOT A SINGLE DRIVER HAS BEEN ABLE TO REPLICATE THE PROBLEM WITH EVIDENCE, other than that of floor mat and mechanical issue as noted. Take a look at this article from cnn and you'll know why it's so easy for a driver to be at fault in such situation:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/11/autos/pedal_misapplication/index.htm

this is an advance means of transportation, aside that you are enjoying riding but it attracts investors and tourists that can boosts the economic growth

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