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Acceleration Case: Jury Finds Toyota Liable

10/24/2013 09:00 PM EDT
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El Bee
User Rank
Freelancer
Re: More to come
El Bee   10/25/2013 1:21:40 PM
Irrespective of any software failure, any modern car, including a Toyota Camry, can be stopped by applying the brakes.  Even if the car is under full throttle.  There have been numersous tests demonstrating this, and you can try it for yourself on a deserted road.  Brakes are more powerful than the engine and will stop the car every time.  Therefore, some blame has to be placed on the driver for the crash.  An award like this sets a dangerous precedent, although I'm sure Toyota will appeal.

patrick.mannion
User Rank
Staff
Re: More to come and S/W quote from Junko
patrick.mannion   10/25/2013 1:27:26 PM
NO RATINGS
Rich, that's brialliant! Junko, would you be willing to let your visage be so 'used' for anyone who wants that quote on an EETimes T-shirt? It sums it up so well, it's priceless!

Sneezy
User Rank
Rookie
Jury system flawed
Sneezy   10/25/2013 1:34:01 PM
Proving bug exists in firmware does not prove that the bug actually caused the crash! The industry has to rally to scrutinize the so called evidence so that it does not open a door for future litigations on every piece of software the lawyers can link with some litigation!

I was summoned for Jury duty recently for a vehicular manslaughter case recently. After the judge finished questioning I was one of the 18 sitting up there and the DA/defense has their turn to each remove two of us for whatever reason. Among the my peers, there is a guy who has two PhDs from Stanford, me having only one PhD from Purdue, and one old Filipino American lady who said she only understand 20-30% of the conversation. Guess what, the first guy get excused is the double PhD, the second one is me with one PhD. Since we have to leave right away, I don't know if the lady who only understand 20-30% English eventually get to vote on the case, but the fact that the most highly educated people got kicked out of the Jury says something about the Jury system. In order to overwhelm the jury with the "expert" evidences, neither the DA nor the defense likes people with too much analytical skills, like engineers. They never want the jury to analyze the expert testimony, they only want you to take their words.

I must I was quite relieved when I was excused because I just started a new job two weeks before that... But the way it happened left a serious doubt in my mind on how the system works.

chanj0
User Rank
CEO
Features and Liability
chanj0   10/25/2013 1:36:22 PM
NO RATINGS
Recently, friend of mine buys a car with driver's assist. It applies brake when the vehicle is getting too fast and too close to the car in the front. He's wondering why this feature hasn't been widely adopted years ago since all the necessary sensors are avaiable years back.

To create something requires imagination. To polish something into a product requires more. In automotive industry, reliability and liability are important. If a feature isn't seen as "risk-free", it will not be installed in a vehicle. In addition, the company has to consider how people are operating the vehicle.

Ultronsonic sensors have been used in luxury vehicle more than 15 years ago for parking assist. I am pretty sure automotive companies are looking into applying the technology to elsewhere, for example, driver's assist. What takes the industry so long to adopt it widely?

What if the vehicle with the great feature still hit the car in the front? Who's liable?

Now, will this ruling create a roadblock to the advance of driverless car?

Caleb Kraft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: More to come
Caleb Kraft   10/25/2013 2:00:04 PM
NO RATINGS
I'll be watching. I'm quite curious about how this one was decided. Was there a brake override system in place?

Caleb Kraft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: More to come
Caleb Kraft   10/25/2013 2:01:16 PM
NO RATINGS
Not all modern cars have brake override systems.

http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2013/04/ford-lawsuit.html

without them, slamming on the brakes with full throttle won't necessarily bring you to a swift stop.

mixed_signal
User Rank
Rookie
put it in neutral
mixed_signal   10/25/2013 2:21:12 PM
NO RATINGS
Drivers that doen't know how to slam the transmission into neutral shouldn't be behind the wheel. Unfortunately there is no mandatory driver training or testing for emergency situation handling.

mixed_signal
User Rank
Rookie
Re: More to come
mixed_signal   10/25/2013 2:23:21 PM
NO RATINGS
Agreed, and the transmission should be slammed in to neutral to disengage the engine from the drive train.  Drivers need to know how to handle equipment malfunction.  It's never been required in any licensing test for passenger vehicles that I'm aware of though...

rich.pell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: More to come
rich.pell   10/25/2013 2:23:46 PM
NO RATINGS
""Probably"? What do you base that on?"

Based on the small likelihood that it was actually proved that an electronic defect caused the acceleration.  And that Toyota has successfully defended itself so far in previous trials.  

"I guess it's okay to be baseless as long as you are dispassionate about it."

Proof has yet to be forthcoming even after extensive study of the issue.  It seems unwarranted to infer from a decision by 12 non-technical jurors on this matter that anything has changed in that regard.  



junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: More to come
junko.yoshida   10/25/2013 2:42:30 PM
NO RATINGS
wow, talking about being cynical, Rich. the expert winess in this case has a lot of credibility. you will find out more in the story that I will be posting shortly.

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