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Toyota Fined $1.2B Over Faulty Pedals
Old 03-19-2014, 01:10 PM   #1
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Toyota Fined $1.2B Over Faulty Pedals

Some of us will recall threads from a couple of years ago over the alleged problem of some Toyota cars accelerating uncontrollably. Here's the follow-up.

US Files Charge Against Toyota, $1.2B Penalty - ABC News


Some excerpts:

The U.S. government announced a $1.2 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday and filed a criminal charge alleging the company defrauded consumers by issuing misleading statements about safety issues in Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The penalty is the largest of its kind ever imposed on an auto company, the Justice Department said.
...
Toyota knew at the time that other models susceptible to the same acceleration problem had not been recalled and also took steps to conceal a separate acceleration problem related to a faulty pedal, according to the Justice Department.


The news release makes it sound like the $1.2B fine agreement does not cover the criminal charge that is still coming.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:03 PM   #2
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I participated in that earlier thread. I think they are getting off easy. An additional billion would send a better message. Toyota sullied all who argued that it was real fault, not operator error or a bunched up floor mat.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:23 PM   #3
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Some gory details of electronics / software nature from EE Times.

Toyota Case: Single Bit Flip That Killed


Junko Yoshida

Toyota Case: Single Bit Flip That Killed | EE Times

"During the trial, embedded systems experts who reviewed Toyota's electronic throttle source code testified that they found Toyota's source code defective, and that it contains bugs -- including bugs that can cause unintended acceleration."

"The experts demonstrated that "the defects we found were linked to unintended acceleration through vehicle testing," Barr said. "We also obtained and reviewed the source code for the black box and found that it can record false information about the driver's actions in the final seconds before a crash." "
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:55 PM   #4
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Good find! The EE Times article said that the car black box also malfunctioned during the unintended acceleration, and recorded that the driver did not attempt to brake while he did. Aye, aye, aye...

Ask me why I am not so excited about self-driving cars and all the fancy-schmancy automation on automobiles. Having worked on fault-tolerant computers for aircraft, I knew it took a lot of work and expenses to make these things fail-safe. Aircraft is not as tolerant of errors like a land vehicle, but still... In this case, it is not even a hardware failure, but a software bug!

See excerpts below.
NHTSA needs to get Toyota to make its existing cars safe and also needs to step up on software regulation and oversight. For example, FAA and FDA both have guidelines for safety-critical software design (e.g., DO-178) within the systems they oversee. NHTSA has nothing.

Also, NHTSA recently mandated the presence and certain features of black boxes in all US cars, but that rule does not go far enough. We observed that Toyota's black box can malfunction during unintended acceleration specifically, and this will cause the black box to falsely report no braking.
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:14 PM   #5
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Toyota was NOT fined over faulty pedals. Toyota was fined for covering up safety data, lying to investigators and knowingly selling cars with faulty systems that killed people.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:18 AM   #6
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It would seem that a logic that over rode the throttle control motor when the brake pedal is depressed could provide a lot of backup safety. Of course, it would make it harder to do brake torque burnouts at the local A&W.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:25 AM   #7
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Won't do much for the resale/trade-in on our TWO Toyotas. Oh well...
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:11 AM   #8
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I own a 2007 Corolla and I remember it getting recalled 4 years ago around this time for a small repair of something in its electronic system. The tech guy told me I might feel the car accelerate and change gears a little differently for the first few days. I detected no difference.

The floor mats in my car are anchored down to the floor and never slide around. This is unlike the previous car I had where I bought some generic floor mats after I already had the car. Those slid around and every few weeks they would bunch up under the pedals. I would have to use my foot to pull them back toward me. I got into the habit of checking this before every trip. I never had any problems but whenever I read any stories about stuck pedals I always wondered if the drivers had any problems like mine relating to loose floor mats.

And, as Midpack alluded to, will this mean I won't get any more of the "special offers" from Toyota trying to buy my old Corolla back? I can only hope!
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:47 AM   #9
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The Toyota DOJ agreement to admit and pay 1.2 bil.

See page 1, Item 2 for the short version of what they admit to.

http://www.autonews.com/assets/PDF/CA93662319.PDF
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