Sunday, March 7, 2010

Toyota rebuts Professor Gilbert, reports nothing found wrong with remedied vehicles

by John Neff

During the first round of Congressional hearings last month, Toyota was blindsided by one Professor David Gilbert who was added to the witness list at the last minute to talk about an experiment in which he induced sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) in a late model Toyota Avalon. His test was reproduced in a shoddy ABC News report with Brian Ross behind the wheel and referenced often in the Congressional hearings by politicians trying to understand the complicated method by which Gilbert got the Avalon to take off running.

Well, Toyota and its independent consulting firm Exponent (they're funded by Toyota but produce results reportedly not influenced by their client) have studied Gilbert's experiment and been able to reproduce the results themselves. In Toyota's words:

The analysis of Professor's Gilbert's demonstration establishes that he has reengineered and rewired the signals from the accelerator pedal. This rewired circuit is highly unlikely to occur naturally and can only be contrived in a laboratory. There is no evidence to suggest that this highly unlikely scenario has ever occurred in the real world. As shown in the Exponent and Toyota evaluations, with such artificial modifications, similar results can be obtained in other vehicles.

Likewise, a small portion of owners with vehicles that have already received the fix for Toyota's sticky pedal recall have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the fix didn't work. These owners have reportedly experienced SUA after having their vehicles fixed. Toyota has moved quickly to evaluate these complaints and submit its results to NHTSA. Again, Toyota in its own words:

The evaluations have found no evidence of a failure of the vehicle electronic throttle control system, the recent recall remedies or the brake override system.

What these two moves by Toyota tell us is that the embattled Japanese automaker is finally sticking up for itself in the face of media pundits and politicians who have used this unfortunate situation to score points with their audiences and constituents.

1 comment:

sebastain said...

For your safety, Audi has provided you with stability control, anti-lock braking system and airbags surrounding both the drivers and the passengers, which will emerge in case of an accident.

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