A Toyota software glitch has been plaguing the black boxes on Toyota vehicles that provide data. The problem was with the software that reads the data that comes from the box, also known as Event Data Recorders (EDRs).
Instead of this revelation coming from a government agency like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, executive vice president in charge of research and technology for the Japanese auto maker has revealed the problem. Takeshi Uchiyamada said that the software glitch makes it appear that some vehicles were traveling faster than they actually were. He said that the company identified the problem last spring and has corrected it. Uchiyamada claimed that all the other data stored in the box was correct. Some in the media, as well as lawyers who represent victims who may have suffered injuries due to the unintended acceleration, say that the box may have provided faulty data concerning use of the gas pedal and brake. This information is considered to be important in determining what happen when some Toyota vehicles unintendedly accelerated while being driven. However, Uchiyamada asserts that the defect did not affect data concerning the pedal and brake.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that it relied on 58 EDRs during its investigation of the unintended acceleration issue. NHTSA concluded that there was no new safety defects that needed to be addressed. Toyota claimed that a stuck accelerator pedal and floor carpet that could entangle the gas pedal was the cause of the problem. A fix was created and implemented based on Toyota's claim. Meanwhile NHTSA said that it tested the black boxes and verified the accuracy of the Toyota readers which interprets the data and it was confident that the data was correct. The agency also said that it re-ran the data using updated software and that its findings were confirmed.
Drivers of Toyota vehicles that experienced the acceleration problem say that they applied the brakes to try and stop their car but the vehicle accelerated. NHTSA determined that the brakes were not applied in at least 35 of 58 crashes blamed on by the acceleration. The agency also said that there was no evidence that electronics failure could have been the cause of the problem. Toyota cars, as do other manufacturers' vehicles, feature an electronic throttle system. Many analysts believe that it was this system that failed and caused the acceleration problem.