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Embedded Expert: No Pedal Misapplication in Toyota Case

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: A software glitch after all
Rob Spiegel   11/8/2013 10:33:50 AM
I never realized that change to improve a flaw is a form of admission of guilt. Wow. That's one strange moral conundrum.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Re: For the plaintiff ... (but) designated by the court
Charles Murray   11/8/2013 10:11:01 AM
The dynamometer testing was for the purpose of demonstrating that the failsafes did not prevent loss of throttle control, TJ. I don't know if any simulation was run in court. Barr's testimony essentially said this: Skid marks weren't compatible with pedal misapplication; there was no "sticky pedal" recall for this model year; there was no pedal entrapment; and the car had been inspected a dozen times for mechanical problems, such as throttle blockages. Given those facts, along with the fact that dyno testing showed "gaps" in the failsafes, it was more likely than not that a software malfuntion caused the throttle problem.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
For the plaintiff ... (but) designated by the court
TJ McDermott   11/8/2013 9:56:56 AM
Doesn't that seem contradictory?  Never mind, I'm assuredly not a legal expert.

15 months, 2000 hours, and an 800 page report.  If I was footing the bill, I'd ask for a simulation showing how these discovered safety holes would manifest into loss of throttle control.  Having the simulation run in court, explaining each condition that leads up to loss of throttle control, would seem to be a slam-dunk for the plaintiff.


User Rank
Re: A software glitch after all
tekochip   11/8/2013 9:47:09 AM
If they made the change a jury could have seen this as demonstrating culpability, suggesting that the change was made because Toyota was aware of a system flaw.  Unfortunately, not fixing known flaws is a common theme because of litigation fears.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
A software glitch after all
Rob Spiegel   11/8/2013 8:39:53 AM
Nice story, Chuck. Perhaps the most telling line comes at the very end: "Toyota could have done this (implement a brake-throttle override system) in 2002 without any extra cost to the vehicle." 

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