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'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'

Rick DeMeis
2/9/2011 04:47 PM EST

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ReneCardenas
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
ReneCardenas   3/31/2011 5:41:06 PM
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I still have doubts that all possible issues were expolred to the point of exhaustion, and remove all concerns from all victims and other interested parties. I have not read of any experiments to explore radiation, ESD or ther EMC events. Does any one have that kind of detail or links to additional research?

Etmax
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
Etmax   2/28/2011 12:25:21 AM
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What you say is true, but if the acceleration goes out of control the engine floods or is starved and stalls. Power steering is done with a H-Bridge. If a transistor fails the steering will force one direction with a strength many drivers won't be able to cope with. Will the manufacturers add enough redundant components to avoid disastrous failures? Somehow I don't think so from what I've seen in actual airbag controller failures and resulting unwanted deployments. Drive by wire is another area of concern where a minor failure can result in a situation where the car keeps driving at speed. There was a case only last year where a driver couldn't stop his car for 30km until he crashed it.

agk
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
agk   2/27/2011 4:31:31 PM
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Many things in cars are electronically controlled. Like the acceleration to economise the fuel,the power steering and airconditioner. After reading this article suppose all of a sudden if the power steering goes out of control what will happen to those in the roads?

bcarso
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
bcarso   2/17/2011 6:41:55 PM
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I would give things a closer reading---I didn't get that impression at all. Ron Wilson astutely points out that the NASA results are not an "exoneration", true. Also, in another place, Schweber's recent thread about engineers recovering their reputations, one person posts details of a case where the driver got the car into neutral and to the dealership, engine still screaming away, and the service people couldn't find the problem! No issue with the pedal or the rug there folks! Note also the dialogue about tin whisker growth. Firmware (that nmight miss detection etc.) is only an aspect of this very real problem that afflicts all manner of electronics, particularly those with smaller geometries. I know someone who also, early on, proclaimed that all of this would turn out to be operator error, and with unconcealed Eurocentric arrogance asked why this didn't happen where he was. I was tempted to reply caustically but forebore. Conspiracy? Well, doubtless some of the more short-sighted competitors cackled gleefully when this began to unfold. Perhaps some people are out to get Toyota. But the exposure of their cultural shift from the sincere and intransigent pursuit of quality to a more cynical coverup mentality is what is really damaging---not the specifics of how and why these particular problems occurred.

JLS
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
JLS   2/16/2011 11:56:41 PM
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Knowing some lawyers involved in the litigation of the Toyota cases, I asked them what they thought. I got raised eyebrows and general comments that yes, there are real problems that are not on the public record, and there have been substatial payouts to custoemers cover them up. Whether those were mechanical or electonic problems was not clear, but I don't think we reall have the whole story yet. Any yes, I thing lead free is a disaster in anything that needs to be reliable. That is why the military, among others, have an exemption.

Stendec
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
Stendec   2/16/2011 10:34:38 AM
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Reading the comments I get the impression that the general view is that "We don't care what the findings are we're still going to blame the software". Look at it this way. If it was the software then Toyota wasted money on fixing accelerator pedals and cars would still be crashing. Where are the reports? Surely it would be big news? As far as I'm aware, it was only in the states that problems were reported. The software was the same around the world but the American models were fitted with accelerator pedals made in an American factory. To keep banging on about the software in the face of the evidence smacks of conspiracy theory, but then the States is very good at creating them!

Etmax
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
Etmax   2/16/2011 1:20:47 AM
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I just read mjb's comment, does anybody share my view that lead free electronics is a disaster waiting to happen? One of my concerns is the environmental cost of almost double the energy requirement of leaded. Also the dramatic increase in waste because service is so much more difficult. This is on top of the reliability issues.

Etmax
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
Etmax   2/16/2011 12:47:00 AM
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That's the problem with modelling, you have to know what is likely to cause the problem to reproduce it. I think what others have said, a small logger that logs all important parameters and when a failure occurs look a the logs and build a model based on that. There's nothing like the real world to bring unstuck the best laid plans of mice and men :-)

Ron Wilson, Embedded.com
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
Ron Wilson, Embedded.com   2/15/2011 6:05:59 PM
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Perhaps the opening statement here is a bit misleading. The NASA team did not exonerate the code. They merely stated that after applying a number of widely-used tools and doing a lot of modeling, they were unable to find a fault that they could conclusively connect to unintended acceleration in a 2005 4-cylinder Camry. Their analysis did in fact find problems in the code. But the team was unable to describe a scenario in which these faults could cause the problem. And much of their model-based methodology was based on assumptions about possible failure mechanisms. So as the team itself said, their work does not prove that such faults could not happen: only that they couldn't find them. ron

bcarso
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re: 'You asked for it, you got it, Toyota'
bcarso   2/15/2011 5:34:55 PM
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What disturbed me about the Toyota response was the certainty with which they expressed their point of view---that it could, categorically, NOT possibly be anything beyond floor mats and user error (and finally a problem with the potentiometer return spring etc.). It sounded arrogant then, and in light of their cynical coverup of these problems, and assessment and self-congratulation of how the early issues were handled, very very interesting. That is, how were they so sure? Well, let's try this one on for size: they had already quietly and extensively investigated the firmware and electronic hardware, perhaps? The overall situation with the company is indeed tragic. At one time their quality-oriented culture was nonpareil. A client who tried to get their business was intensely tested and scrutinized, and the talk-the-talk but hide-the- data QA head was unable to pull off his usual deceptions---the visitors from Japan would walk around right on the factory floor and talk to the workers and uncover unpleasant and inconvenient truths. And even to get to this stage took years of someone living in Japan and eventually being accepted by the locals, an amazing effort. Will they ever really recover? I don't know. The attitude and arrogance is going to be remembered for a good long time to come, and no amount of TV ads about technology sharing etc. will cut it for many of us. For the most part the stuff they make is as good as anyone's---although it's not just problems with Camry and Lexus: a friend's early Prius recently lost its brakes completely---in traffic. It had given years of faithful service, and he was about to sell it and get a new one. When he managed to stop the car and get it towed to the dealership, they checked it out and said Well, we will replace the following ten parts and see if that fixes it (!!!). Not exactly reassuring is it?

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