Breaking News
Comments
Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Pritkiy Kaban
User Rank
Rookie
Re: driver to blame
Pritkiy Kaban   10/29/2013 4:15:30 AM
NO RATINGS
According to latest publication (thanks, Junko!), Toyota did botched a part of Camry's software. 

 

While I fail to see how overreving engine could have beaten fully applied brakes (as claimed by driver), it may have been more subtle combined failure which affected ESP/ABS controls thus preventing brakes from developing full force.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
driver to blame
krisi   10/25/2013 10:35:54 AM
NO RATINGS
I agree with others that drivers error is the most likely cause in this particular case...but the general question brought by Junko is much more interesting...how do we prove or disprove that software caused the problem? unless it is deterministic and repatable I don't see the way, this just too complex...I think we have to accept some level of randomness in our life, according to quantum mechanics any lake can freeze on sunny day, it just never happened yet...Kris

Pritkiy_Kaban
User Rank
Rookie

Pritkiy_Kaban   10/25/2013 4:07:30 AM
NO RATINGS
Personally, I believe this particular accident happened due to human error.  An elderly driver is a risk factor. 1992 case described by James Chiles looks very similar. And it is next to impossible to imagine a car not stopping under heavy application of brakes (as Bookout claims).

However, there might be a rare glitch in ABS firmware or hardware. There are definite cases when car electronics was at fault. Russian Lada Kalina is notoriously known for rare yet extremely dangerous EPS problems (the EPS gear will turn to leftmost/rightmost position and lock there). There are anecdotal evidence of electronic ABS faults on certain Citroen C3's, too.

Anyway, I'll be looking forward for more technical information about the case, if it ever becomes public.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: yes
junko.yoshida   10/24/2013 9:42:49 PM
NO RATINGS
I know. The answer should be obvious, but tracking down a piece of code to say that it did it in a complex automotive system seems like an almost impossible task. At least. that's pretty much what NASA concluded in its original investigation in this case... they did not exclude the possibility that unintended acceleration might have been caused by software.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: more details
junko.yoshida   10/24/2013 9:05:58 PM
NO RATINGS
Since the NHTSA closed the case in early 2011 (after NASA's investigation which found no fault in Toyota electronic throttle control system), it appears that there have been a substantial amount of new probing done by embedded sytems experts. We will be publishing new findings in our upcoming reports on this matter.

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
Re: more details
Bert22306   10/24/2013 7:57:57 PM
NO RATINGS
Is this deja vu all over again?

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

I remember the hubbub a few years ago, and it appeared that the problem was not in the electronics at all. For that matter, even more years ago, the same problem was reported with Audis. Back then, it was determined that the accelerator pedal was slightly positioned to the left, compared with the average, so that the drivers were pushing hard on the accelerator when they thought they were braking.

Not sure if this is new information. During the initial Audi case, I remember that some experts on these matters said that drivers who experience these problems are often simply pushing on the wrong pedal, even though they are convinced they're not.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: more details
junko.yoshida   10/24/2013 4:50:21 PM
NO RATINGS
No, you are not imagining it. That's exactly the same arguemnt Toyota's lawyers made in the closing argument.

We will have more on this later.

Caleb Kraft
User Rank
Blogger
more details
Caleb Kraft   10/24/2013 4:48:57 PM
NO RATINGS
I would love to see more details about how exactly the failure happened. I seem to recall several of those runaway toyota issues to be user error. Maybe I'm imagining it.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
yes
krisi   10/24/2013 4:46:43 PM
NO RATINGS
I think the answer to your question Yunko is a simple "yes". Software controls the hardware and hardware can kill so yes, the software can kill. Not sure where is a doubt here. The same logic applies to subway systems (many of them without drivers like here in Vancouver), planes on autor-pilot, etc. If we relive sofwtare from responsibility then all drivers will have a nice execuse of not doing their jobs properly ("it was the software that did it!"). So the only issue is whether software or hardware or human is responsible for a particular death and that is obviously case dependent...Kris



Flash Poll
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Max Maxfield

The Best of the Best Videos on YouTube
Max Maxfield
4 comments
A couple of days ago, my chum Paul was visiting me in my office. He'd wandered over from his cubicle in the next bay to take a brief coffee break. This week, Paul had been admiring the ...

Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock

Jolt Awards: The Best Books
Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock
1 Comment
As we do every year, Dr. Dobb's recognizes the best books of the last 12 months via the Jolt Awards -- our cycle of product awards given out every two months in each of six categories. No ...

Engineering Investigations

Air Conditioner Falls From Window, Still Works
Engineering Investigations
2 comments
It's autumn in New England. The leaves are turning to red, orange, and gold, my roses are in their second bloom, and it's time to remove the air conditioner from the window. On September ...

David Blaza

The Other Tesla
David Blaza
5 comments
I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...