2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery
In light of all of the current issues surrounding the Toyota Prius, the company has responded by preparing to send electronic data recovery (EDR) readers to the U.S. to determine actual data readings from vehicles claimed to be involved with either unintentional acceleration or braking problems. By the end of April, Toyota will have 100 to 150 EDR readers here for use in determining vehicle problems. The company plans to send 400 additional units as soon as they become available.
The EDR reader can be connected to the vehicle's on-board diagnostic equipment and record useful data for Toyota to analyze. The data record includes accelerator pedal activity, brake pedal position, speed and countless other factors present during a claimed vehicle fault. The company currently has only one prototype EDR reader in use within the entire U.S., making assessment of problematic vehicles both time consuming and difficult. With the additional readers coming, the company will be equipped to quickly deal with and hopefully resolve any problems.
The vehicle's on-board EDR, commonly termed black boxes, records real-time driving parameters in a method similar to flight data recorders. NHTSA has required that, beginning in 2013, EDR information be available to consumers through reader devices on vehicles equipped with EDRs. Currently, this data is only available to automakers and investigators or consumers by court order.