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dhyoung
User Rank
Iron
Re: A software glitch after all
dhyoung   11/11/2013 11:05:02 AM
NO RATINGS
Does any of this conjecture respond to the notion than the application of full throttle cannot be overcome by the cars ordinary brake system? My cars engine is significantly more powerful than any Toyota. If I apply full throttle and full brake to my car, it won't budge.

Jim_E
User Rank
Platinum
Totoya Software
Jim_E   11/11/2013 10:29:42 AM
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Reading one of the earlier articles in Embedded System Design, I was struck by the fact that Toyota supposedly couldn't product the exact code use to create the release version of the ECM software.  Were they just covering up bad code, or is/was their version control that poor?  From what I read there, the NASA guys weren't even given the correct code used in the vehicle.

As a software guy, I too thought that it might come down to the software being the reason behind this unintended acceleration.  Barr's analysis on the failure of the failsafes make me wonder about the reasons behind this.  Was the product rushed to market?  Were hardware engineers writing the software and not grasping some of the software system aspects?  Just sloppy coding by inexperienced programmers?

I sure hope that newer Toyota's have better code, especially since we own a 2013 Sienna....

I was sure to tell my wife that if this situation ever happens, immediately knock the shifter into neutral, and if that doesn't work, turn the ignition key back one click.

jhankwitz
User Rank
Platinum
Re: A software glitch after all
jhankwitz   11/11/2013 10:05:58 AM
NO RATINGS
Companies have avoided documenting or taking corrective action for many years due to litigation fears. When working with companies back in the early '90s, many companies refused to become ISO 9001 registered because the standard required documentation of all actions taken to improve or correct anything. That requirement was subsequently removed from later versions of the standard.  I knew of several companies that actually shreaded all customer complaint and feedback documentation after reading it.  - John

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
MY two cents....
OLD_CURMUDGEON   11/11/2013 9:41:45 AM
As the owner of 3 CAMRY vehicles in the past 20 years, I can categorically state that overall I have never owned a more pleasant all-around vehicle to drive.  And, I've had the full gamut of vehicles from simple, small compacts to large cruisers, and SUVs, to boot.  Each CAMRY has been driven well over 100K miles each with little or no operational problems, and each one has been "treated" to the proper Preventive Maintenance schedules.  I have NOT experienced a single misstep in the throttle control or any other on-board control.

With regard to this "CAMRY" problem, what I don't understand is why it is so peculiar to ONLY CAMRY vehicles.  One would think that TOYOTA would have developed a single Engine Control Module for all it's vehicles, making only minor changes as needed for all their product lines from the COROLLA through their TUNDRA trucks.

With regard to TOYOTA denying or hush-hushing the problem, hoping it to go away by itself, I find that VERY HARD to believe, given the Japanese culture of honesty, integrity.  IF this acceleration problem had occurred en masse to an American vehicle manufacturer, AND it was covered-up with great effort, then I'd say it was typical of the American corporate culture of intentionally deceiving people for the sake of profit, but it's hard for me to swallow that rationale when it comes to TOYOTA, UNLESS this was the result of TOYOTA of America, and NOT of TOYOTA of Japan, where the head honchos reside!!!!

ADIOS!

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Evidence
Greg M. Jung   11/9/2013 9:18:29 PM
NO RATINGS
Very good discussion of a complex issue which will further heighten my awareness to thoroughly test software during design development.

One piece of evidence which swayed me was "skid marks at the accident scene were not compatible with pedal misapplication".  Also, were the plaintiffs able to actually demonstrate this failure on a realy Camry?

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: A software glitch after all
Charles Murray   11/8/2013 5:33:51 PM
NO RATINGS
Good point, naperlou. If automaker knowingly rejects the idea of a fix, then that's a liability, too.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: A software glitch after all
Rob Spiegel   11/8/2013 12:45:43 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes, I remember that the early SUVs were effectively trucks, and their categorization as trucks gave these vehicles a pass on a number of goevernment standards. That was also true with the early minivans. 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: A software glitch after all
Rob Spiegel   11/8/2013 12:42:20 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree with you Ttemple. Unfortunately, they seem to have put up the barracades. This seems to be a common corporate problem. I think a chance in this behavior would require a change in corporate culture.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: A software glitch after all
naperlou   11/8/2013 12:08:30 PM
NO RATINGS
Rob, that may be the case, but there is no ignoring the problem.  Once it has come to light it  needs to be fixed in future vehicles and, if possible, retrofitted into older ones. 

As far as the liability, if the company knew they had this problem and did nothing, or did an inadequate job of fixing it, then they have a liability problem no matter what.  The other issue is the standards at the time of sale.  I don't know, but I doubt that there were government standards that applied at the time.  That would be the key.

This is very reminicent of the safety stadards we see in cars today.  We have the crash test ratings, which did not exist before.  Early SUVs, you might recall, had much less crash worthiness than regular automobiles when the tests were first applied to them.  It took a lot of enginerring to get them up to standard.  SUVs are basically pick-up trucks with a different body.  Pick-up trucks never had the same standards as cars.  Now that we have had some of these problems, I think we will see a big move into standards.  As for the older vehicles, you take your chances.

ttemple
User Rank
Platinum
Re: A software glitch after all
ttemple   11/8/2013 12:07:38 PM
As a software engineer, I have always believed that this would prove to be a software problem.

I think that at some point there will be incontrovertible evidince that code is/was causing the problems.

A faster "admission of guilt" will prove to have been cheaper in the end for Toyota. Had they accepted early on that there may be a problem in the code, they would have vigorously worked at identifying the problems, and perhaps have recalled affected vehicles and applied appropriate fixes.

The truth is/was bound to come out, so why not own up and get rid of the potential of cascading liability?

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