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U.S. probe finds no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles


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U.S. probe finds no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles

2011-02-09 05:51:22 GMT+7 (ICT)

WASHINGTON D.C. (BNO NEWS) -- The United States Department of Transportation on Tuesday informed that a ten-month investigation found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles.

The investigation was launched to find potential electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. The probe was conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with NASA engineers.

The results indicate that the Toyota vehicles do not have any electronic failure capable of producing the large throttle openings required to create dangerous high-speed unintended acceleration incidents.

The previously identified "sticking" accelerator pedals and a design flaw that enabled accelerator pedals to become trapped by floor mats still remain as the only known causes of the incidents.

Due these defects, Toyota recalled nearly 8 million vehicles in the United States. A failure in the vehicles' electronic systems was suspected as another cause of the acceleration incidents and the U.S. Congress requested the probe.

"We enlisted the best and brightest engineers to study Toyota’s electronics systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

NASA engineers evaluated the electronic circuitry in Toyota vehicles and analyzed more than 280,000 lines of software code for any potential flaws that could initiate an unintended acceleration incident.

More tests, including bombarding vehicles with electromagnetic radiation, were performed at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. NHTSA engineers and researchers also tested Toyota vehicles at NHTSA’s Vehicle Research and Test Center in East Liberty, Ohio.

"NASA found no evidence that a malfunction in electronics caused large unintended accelerations," said Michael Kirsch, Principal Engineer at the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC).

NHTSA is considering taking several new actions as the result of the investigation. Among the proposed rules are requiring brake override systems, standardizing operation of keyless ignition systems, and requiring the installation of event data recorders in all passenger vehicles.

In 2009 and 2010, Toyota recalled nearly eight million vehicles as part of the sticky pedal and pedal entrapment issues. Toyota also paid $48.8 million in civil penalties as the result of NHTSA investigations that determined that the automaker did not notify in a timely manner about these defects.

In August 2009, a fatal crash in Santee, California occurred as the result of pedal entrapment in a loaner Lexus equipped with an all-weather floor mat intended for another Lexus model.

After the fatal crash, NHTSA reviewed crash evidence and other data and found that removing floor mats was insufficient as there was a need to redesign the accelerator pedal.

Toyota then conducted a recall for 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles for floor mat entrapment on October 5, 2009. The October recall was expanded on January 27 to include another 1.1 million vehicles.


-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-02-09

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