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Toyota Case: Single Bit Flip That Killed

10/25/2013 03:35 PM EDT
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EmbEngr17
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Re: Not happy with the software report from NASA?
EmbEngr17   11/22/2016 10:23:10 AM
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Or, you could watch the Consumer Reports video that shows this is simply INCORRECT for vehicles without vacuum pumps (the video shows a 2010 Toyota Avalon):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZZNR9O3xZM

And yes, if you really want to try this yourself be sure to leave LOTS of room.  Because even if you are strong enough to apply the force required to stop your vehicle after you've lost vacuum assist, fighting an open throttle will dramatically increase stopping distance.  If you're trying to stop the vehicle and it doesn't stop as fast as it should, that's dangerous too.

Chris88997
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Re: Not happy with the software report from NASA?
Chris88997   5/14/2016 1:09:19 PM
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Then try the NHTSA:

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/feds-blame-driver-error-for-16000-annual-unintended-acceleration-cases-060215.html

Again, AT FULL THROTTLE THE BRAKES WILL STILL STOP THE CAR. If you don't belive me try it somewhere with a lot of room.

Chris88997
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Re: All evidence suggests paid shill
Chris88997   5/14/2016 12:55:12 PM
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I'm way late here but I see an ambulance chasing shill posted after I did.  This case is a landmark only because the new method of the ambulance chasing attorneys worked.  It does absolutley nothing to refute all of those other studies that showed almost all "sudden acceleration" cases were pedal error.  While Toyota may have decided it was cheaper and easier to offer some settlements, I don't belive for one second that this "software error" is likely to be valid.  Just like 60 Minutes rigged the engine in the Audi 5000 many years ago, the plainiff's attorney's paid software "expert" found an error mechanism.

The real story is found here:

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/its-all-your-fault-the-dot-renders-its-verdict-on-toyotas-unintended-acceleration-scare-feature

This story includes the quotes:

"The agency also found no circumstances under which the ETC could somehow disable the braking system."

"In many ways, Toyota's unintended-acceleration situation last year mimicked Audi's experience 25 years ago. There was the same media firestorm, the same parade of sympathetic victims, and similar tales of wildly accelerating, unstoppable cars.

In 1986, however, cars didn't have transmission interlocks, so you could shift from park into drive or reverse without your foot on the brake. The Audi 5000 also had a problem that occasionally caused an elevated idle speed. Both circumstances encouraged pedal misapplication.

But, as C/D demonstrated in a story published in June 1987, an Audi 5000 could be brought to a halt from 70 mph at wide-open throttle in a reasonably short distance (we demonstrated that a Toyota Camry could do the same in March 2010). Then, as now, no car could overpower its brakes.

Audi didn't help itself by blaming the crashes on the cars' owners, who didn't appreciate the suggestion that they were incompetent drivers. Toyota avoided that approach last year."


So it is clear the shill here is providing false information.  THE BRAKES WILL STOP THE CAR EVEN AT FULL THROTTLE.  Knowing that, you can se that even if there were true throttle errors from software the drivers panicked and mashed the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal.  Some other commenter mentioned that drivers have no natural way to cope with "sudden acceleration".  In my own case, that was simply not true.  I lifted my foot off the gas pedal and tapped it hard thinking it was a stuck throttle cable.  When that failed I used the brake pedal, which had no problem stopping the turbocharged engine.  After I was stopped I saw that the thick floormat had indeed held the gas pedal down.  The key is not panicking.  Perhaps there should be driver testing to ensure drivers will not panic and do foolish things in emergency situations.  If they do panic, no license for them.

Ultimately I think Toyota looked at how Audi handled things PR wise and decided to play along with the charade.  They calculated that lost car sales due to telling potential car buyers the truth would be much more costly than going along with the lie.



Parris Boyd
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Re: Software controlling hardware in life safety applications
Parris Boyd   7/15/2014 12:22:02 PM
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Right on, pbenjamins. NHTSA broadcasted the big lie that NASA had ruled out any electronic issues, knowing full well that NASA had done no such thing, that the space agency never said it had, and that NASA was hamstrung from the get go, complete with time limitations and incorrect information from Toyota. Embedded systems expert Michael Barr has set the record straight, and driving the point home, NASA physicist Henning Leidecker is now warning of increased risk of unintended acceleration in '02-'06 Camrys due to "tin whiskers" growing in the pedal sensors.

I've been blogging about the electronics issue. Visit Beware of Toyota. Their next victim may be YOU... 

pbenjamins
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Software controlling hardware in life safety applications
pbenjamins   7/14/2014 10:29:21 PM
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I was always suspicious of "NASA's" report on the Toyota acceleration study and the assumption that a NASA evaluation is irrefutable.  Not all NASA scientists and engineers are of the same caliber.  I doubt that the programmers that worked on the deep space probes where code has to be perfect, were the ones that reviewed the Toyota code.  I also wonder if the black boxes now placed in automobiles have independent sensors for operation and black box logging.  (I suspect they were looking at the same incorrect sensor input with the same resulting conclusions.)  We routinely reboot our PC's, printers, cell phones, game boxes, and cable/satelite receiver boxes with little consequences.  However when software controlls peripherals that can affect lives, extra care has to be taken and reviewed by programmers not involved in writing the code.

This situation is nothing new.  Look up "10 historical software bugs with extreme consequences" and "A collection of well-known software failures".  Not admitting that a serious mistake was made is the real tragedy. 

Parris Boyd
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Skid marks suggest electronic failure
Parris Boyd   2/22/2014 8:48:38 PM
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There was 150 feet of skid marks from the plaintiff's tires. This was a MAJOR part of the trial, emphasized by Jere Beasley, founder of the plaintiffs' law firm, in a YouTube video accusing Toyota of a cover-up.

I commend EE Times for following the sudden unintended acceleration issue. Junko Yoshida summed things up quite well in her reply to one of the comments:

"...the fact that the experts' group was able to demonstrate at least one way for the software to cause unintended acceleration is a "breakthrough," at a time when the Toyota case -- up until last week -- was viewed by many as an issue of floor mat, sticky pedal or a driver's error."

The Oklahoma case is now being referred to as a "landmark," underscored by Toyota's shift to "settlement mode" after the verdict was in. Not only for the Oklahoma case, but for all of the remaining sudden unintended acceleration cases, and now there are reports that Toyota is also interested in "settling" (for about a billion bucks) the two-year-old federal criminal investigation as to how complaints of sudden unintended acceleration were handled (along with a few other niceties such as possible mail fraud, wire fraud, lying to Congress, and misleading stockholders).   

Actions speak louder than words, and I won't belabor the notion of anyone being allowed to buy their way out of a criminal investigation.

I've been blogging about Toyota for quite some time, and regarding Michael Barr's findings, there's been what can only be described as a news blackout. My blog is titled "Beware of Toyota. Their next victim may be YOU..."  

green_is_now
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Re: Is it worse than mechanical springs?
green_is_now   2/6/2014 10:18:44 AM
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But we are not trained or naturally do the correct thing when the mechanical controls that extend our senors and actuators beyond our bodies STOP WORKING AS EXPECTED the brain is running engramless, that is the brain has no textbook answer handy when the car wants to keep accelerating to the moon.

not just loss of accelerator but the worst possible kind of malfunction, full power.

 

I looked at these electronic foot pedal hardware and saftware packages for a school project for challenge X.

I was appalled no safety standards existed for the hardware or software for the industry, no oversight or help with safety design of these critical hardware components for the schools either.

Did not get involved further because of this fact alone...a disaster in the making.

Many solutions some or all should be used.

avionics level software and hardware certification for power control and user interface devices.

A simple big red pull pin or pushbutton override

Add drivers license training for stuck throttle driver response training.

A 2x4 in the hand of the instructor would work 

Chris88997
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Re: Master throttle control
Chris88997   1/14/2014 2:21:25 PM
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Want a stick shift and live in San Fran or similar?  Don't buy a car without a hand activated emergency brake.  :-)

Chris88997
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Re: Toyota's culpability here is the tip of the iceberg for everyone
Chris88997   1/14/2014 2:15:40 PM
Horrible post interms of useful information, meanwhile an excellent example of FUD and fogging up an issue with numerous bogeymen.

1. A car's brakes in proper working order WILL stop the car under full throttle acceleration, whether you think it's a good idea or not.

2. There are only a handful of cars on the road that do zero to sixty in 6 seconds or less, let alone the 4 seconds you state.

3. Many attentive drivers will have reaction times less than 0.5 seconds. 

4. Meanwhile inattentive/unskilled/intoxicated/elderly drivers may have reaction times in the seconds, and their reactions may also be so poor that their initial non reaction is more favorable than the results afterward.

Item 4 does not mean good drivers should not have manual mechanisms to enhance safety, although it is a strong argument for self driving cars and graduated licensing.  Automated safety systems such as radar are already prevalent, and self driving cards are in test in mulptiple locations.  Better get ready to face your fears.

Chris88997
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Author
Re: Is it worse than mechanical springs?
Chris88997   1/14/2014 1:58:12 PM
The discussion on this story is remarkable in that apparently only a couple of commenters know that the brakes will stop the car regardless of what the engine is doing.  When the plaintiff in this case claims that she was mashing the brakes to the floor but the car was still accelerating, but the brakes were then found to be fine after the incident, there is a greater than 99.9% probablity she was mistaken or simply lying.

Go back and review the claims and cases during the Audi 5000 "sudden acceleration" era.  Such as the driving instructor who swore he was on the brakes, meanwhile witnesses behind the car saw no brake lights and no brake failure was found in the car afterward.  Or the elderly man who was sure his foot was on the brake as he crashed through a concrete barrier in a parking garage.  Sure until he looked down and saw his foot on the gas, that is.  At least he was honest.

Then there was the Audi dealership owner John Morzenti, who challenged CBS/60 Minutes (Remember their show on the Audi where they failed to disclose how they tampered with the Audi's engine, and also did not apply the brake?) to a 1 million dollar bet.  He said they could do anything they wanted with the engine, as long as he got to sit inside with his foot on the brake pedal.  CBS did not take the bet.

"Sudden acceleration" was investigated hundreds of times in the past, and other than some minor sticky throttles (Which would not have caused the wild claims made by the drivers.) no major problems with the cars were found.  That's why in this case the plaintiff's attorneys had to come up with a new strategy focused on software, and of course that strategy had to include that the black box could be incorrect.  Given a typical jury of non technical people, a strategy such as this had a good chance of success. How is the average non technical person going to have any clue whether a "software expert" is right, wrong, clueless, honest, or dishonest??  Especially since people generally want to believe in other people telling a heart wrenching story, and even more especially when they are up against a large "evil" corporation.

Kudos to the people asking for the experts probablity calculations, and to Bert for pointing out how bad of an idea it is to brake with your left foot and push the gas pedal with your right.  I've seen quite a few people driving this way, and I'm sure they were convinced they weren't riding the brake pedal, even though from behind I could see the brake lights remain on as they accelerated away from a stop.  Of course not all 2 foot drivers will ride the brake, but being in the habit of using different feet for the brake and gas pedals will absolutely increase the likelihood of pedal errors.  Stick drivers of course have to use their left foot for the clutch, but this is not a problem.  If you "accidentally" mash the clutch to the floor in a panic it of course will not cause the vehicle to accelerate.

In my own experience I was driving a turbocharged Isuzu back in the late 80's.  I confess that I frequently would floor the throttle to accelerate quickly.  One day I did this and the throttle remained stuck after I let off the pedal.  Instead of panicking, I tapped the pedal hard a couple of times trying to free what I thought was stuck throttle cable.  When that didn't work I put my foot on the brake.  While my stopping distance was of course a bit longer, the car did slow down to where I could easily pull off onto a side road and then easily come to a full stop.  The turbo engine was wailing away, but no match for the brakes.  I put the car in neutral, and then looked down to see that the very stiff floor mat was holding the gas pedal to the floor.  Easy fix.

I suggest anyone who doubts the brakes find a stretch of open road, or a very large parking lot and try the test themselves.  In this case do use both feet.  From a stop, floor the brake with your left foot, and then try applying more and more throttle with your right.  If your brakes are in proper working order the car will not be going anywhere even if you floor the gas pedal.  Automatic transmissions only, of course. 

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