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Automotive Litigation Spotlights Need for Software Safety

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bobjengr   4/5/2014 8:09:12 PM

I have a good friend whose wife was involved in an accident while driving a Lexus.  The accelerator stuck with velocity increasing second by second.  She was on I-75 just north of Atlanta.  Certainly one of the busiest interstate systems in our country.  Fortunately, she knew what to do.   She pulled onto the shoulder and turned off the ignition.  She did impact a guard rail which deployed the driver's side air bag. The car was basically totaled.  Toyota settled quickly with no questions asked.  I agree Charles that the time is long past for more digilence relative to programming software AND more vigorous "proofing" of prior to launching new automotive products.  Complexity will only increase as more and more features are added to automobiles and electronic systems will handle those complexities.  Thank you for keeping us informed.  Excellent post.  

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Re: Time for Toyota to address electronics
ttemple   4/4/2014 3:11:01 PM
Any piece of industrial equipment has protective hardware around all of the software, Generally in the form of an "Emergency Stop" circuit.  The same philosophy might now be necessary in vehicles, due to the amout of software involved.  An engine kill switch probably serves the purpose.

Proper training is involved too.  The kill switch does no good if one panics and doesn't think to use it. (there is normally an ignition switch, which probably could have been used to stop most runaway Toyotas).

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Re: Time for Toyota to address electronics
John.Lashnits   4/4/2014 12:36:33 PM
Well put, Parris.  I agree that it's long past the time when blaming floormats and drivers is productive.  I think a mandatory BTO (Brake-Throttle Override) function would be a great first step in addressing the risks of unintended acceleration.  Personally, I'm going to look into implementing an engine kill switch on our newer family vehicle.


Parris Boyd
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Time for Toyota to address electronics
Parris Boyd   4/4/2014 9:51:09 AM
Excellent article. Meanwhile, Recall King Toyota and its friends in government and mainstream media are looking sillier by the minute as they continue to blabber about floor mats, sticky gas pedals, and driver error, refusing to acknowledge compelling evidence of electronic issues. Michael Barr's peers are to be commended for spreading the word about his findings.

I've been blogging about the Recall King - Beware of Toyota. Their next victim may be YOU... - for quite some time, with a number of posts discussing the electronics issue.

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