• Mar 22, 2011
Plaintiffs in the unintended acceleration class action case against Toyota are striking back against the findings laid out by NASA. It was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that produced research showing electronics were not to blame for any sudden acceleration-related issues.
According to Bloomberg, the plaintiffs in the case maintain that NASA didn't dig deep enough. Toyota's computer systems utilize eight million lines of code, yet NASA only looked through 280,000. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have filed paperwork stating they plan to bring in experts who'll contradict NASA's findings.

Toyota maintains that any issues of unintended acceleration were related to stuck accelerator pedals, faulty floor mats and driver error – two out of three of which have been addressed with recalls.

[Source: Bloomberg]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm so glad that this is what NASA is up to. It's not going to Mars would be cool or anything.

      On the other hand when I looked through Toyota's code I did notice this little tidbit:

      //stop=no
      go=lots

      Seems fishy.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Lawyers routinely hire experts from various souces to do legal consultations. Many times these consultants are University professors, but Toyota apparently decided that they wanted rocket scientists to review their gas pedals. The findings often don't go the way the way the lawyers would want, but this time, it looks like they did. Either way, the consultant earns the same fee.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Don't worry, they fixed that with a patch:

        if ((driver_intel
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good god, people. *Let it go.* If, after however many code reviews they've done (both internal and external,) hasn't turned up anything yet, it's probably not there to find.

      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow! 8 million lines of code? That's only 3.5% of the code that they looked at!

      How on earth can you get a conclusion from that!!! Even 99% doesn't give you a conclusion! I mean how many times do we look for things, look in every freakn place in the house and not find it! It could be in the last .01% if it's there...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Exactly. As if the eight million lines of code all have to do with Toyota's drive-by-wire system. This is one of the most stupid arguments I've ever heard. Leave it to the idiots, & the lawyers who represent them to come up with such a lame rebuttal.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Man, I am so sick of the poor reporting surrounding this case. Quoted from the Autoblog piece:

      "research showing electronics were not to blame for *any* sudden acceleration-related issues." (emphasis added)

      Patently false statement. The NASA investigation did not find any *likely* scenario wherein UA would occur. In other words, Toyota built-in reasonable safe-guards and redundancy, but that doesn't mean UA-by-malfunction can't occur.

      The NASA report said:

      "Because proof that the ETCS-i caused the reported UAs was not found does not mean it could not occur"

      In other words, "Just because we couldn't find a smoking gun, doesn't mean it's impossible."

      Other observations directly from the report:

      "O-5 Vehicles that are operated with an active pedal sensor fault, either with the MIL on or off, may be susceptible to the effects of second faults, leading to possible unintended accelerations"

      "O-7 There are no methods for capturing pre-event software states and performance following a UA event either on the vehicle or as a diagnostic tool. "
      - ie, if a UA event occurs, and you later scan the system for codes, there is no way of knowing what exactly was happening at the time of the UA

      "O-9 A review of HF literature related to UAs indicates that pedal misapplication remains an identified cause of *some* UAs. However, it is not possible to accurately estimate from available survey and laboratory data how frequently this error is an underlying cause." (emphasis added) - In other words, NASA did not say that driver error caused all cases of UA.

      "Destructive physical analysis of this pedal assembly found tin whiskers, one of which had formed the resistive partial short circuit between the pedal signal outputs. A second tin whisker of similar length was also found in this pedal assembly that had not caused an electrical short. If a resistive short between the potentiometer accelerator pedal signal outputs exists, the system may be vulnerable to a specific second fault condition that could theoretically lead to UA"
      - Remember that professor that was on ABC and flipped some switches to make the Toyota accelerate without throwing a code? The one many of you are disparaging? What NASA found is basically half of what that professor did. It would only take one more unfortunate short-circuit to cause what he was showing. NASA only examined 6 cars, and this was one of them.

      Just assigning every UA to driver error or greed also doesn't explain the case of Kevin Haggerty who happened to be close to his dealer when his engine started racing. He managed to get the car to the dealer by shifting in and out of neutral, parked the car, got out, and the engine continued to race, even though the pedal was not depressed. (see following article)

      http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/hunterdon-county/express-times/index.ssf/2010/01/recalled_toyota_owners_acceler.html


      The fact of the matter is that there are millions and millions of Toyota vehicles with electronic throttles, travelling billions and billions of miles through conditions as diverse as -40 degrees to +120 degrees, 0% humidity to 100% humidity, various states of neglect or disrepair. There is no way to simulate all possible scenarios in the laboratory. So just because laboratory testing can't find a smoking gun, doesn't mean that a problem doesn't exist. It may only happen to a tiny fraction of motorists, but if it does happen, there is a high chance that it will end in tragedy.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota Lawyer: So before the car UA happened you where in complete control of your car correct?
      Plantiffs: Yes I was
      Toyota Lawyer: So when it went speeding out of control why didnt you put the shifter into the N position?
      Pantiffs: Huh?
      Toyota Lawyer: Well you said you where in complete control so I'd assume you should know that if you put the shifter into the N position your car would of slowly coasted to a stop.
      Plantiffs:.....um....I was scared??

      Onto the NASA findings.. I'm pretty sure those 280k lines of code all had to do with the motors control of acceleration and RPM. I highly doubt the "ghost in the machine" is burried in a subroutine related to the climate control.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The statement about NASA "only" examining 280k lines out of 8000k sounds like blatant sophistry... at least as Bloomberg phrased it. Maybe the lawyers had a more specific complaint? Like NASA failed to examine code controlling acceleration and not, say, the radio clock?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ditto. They are planning to go to court claiming that the engineers who sent men to the moon with chaulk boards and slide rules can't figure out how a gas pedal works.

      If these lawyers win, I'm going to spill some coffee on my lap and give them a call.
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a past owner of a problem Toyota.....all I can say is there sure was a lot of issues and problems that Toyota got away with. As much as they say they are not at fault ... Toyota clearly new of concerns and chose to ignore them. Only when they were forced against the wall did they recall and make any move as to try to fix anything. Choosing low end venders and being more focused on beating out GM cost them the quality they were known for. The bottom line won out on volume over value and safety. It would be a long time before I ever consider a product from such shady company.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You mean like denying a pedal design flaw in the US while a recall was already underway in Europe?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Choosing low end vendors? What the hell are you talking about, Toyota uses top notch suppliers and tends to pay more for the same type of parts. Not to mention that some of the best parts companies are Toyota affiliates (i.e. Aisin).
      • 3 Years Ago
      Look for a rocket engine near the gas tank...oh wait that was Dateline and Chevy. :-P
      IamXD
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's the pedal on the left, not the right...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its possible the toyota beige put the nasa scientists to sleep and that affected their findings.
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