Crash data boxes report wrong speeds, says Toyota

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A photo of a crash data recovery box used by automotive crash investigators. This box is used by authorities from Radford, Va.

Crash data boxes have been registering inaccurate speeds in Toyota cars. The automaker blames a software glitch. (Photo Credit: CC BY/City of Radford, Va./City of Radford Website)

As the ongoing investigation of Toyota by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration of suddenly accelerating vehicles continues, a new piece of information has come to light. In fact, it comes straight from the mouth of the automaker’s executive vice president of research and development, Takeshi Uchiyamada. According to Automotive News, Uchiyamada has announced that a software bug has been detected that causes the crash data boxes in Toyota vehicles to provide incorrect speed information.

These are crash data boxes, not event data recorders

Toyota previously admitted during the NHTSA investigation that crash information provided by event data recorders (EDR) in certain vehicles was problematic, yet Uchiyamada has attempted to clarify that “We have been able to determine that there is no defect in the event data recorders.” He was referring to the device’s mechanics, as the problem was a software bug that has reportedly been corrected. For those who don’t know, the EDR in a vehicle records information related to position of the throttle and how much pressure was being applied to the brake at the time of the collision. Crash data boxes, on the other hand, relate more specifically to reporting speed, according to sources.

Toyota says there have been no electronic glitches

After reviewing data from among the 3,000 unintended acceleration complaints they received, Toyota pronounced with certainty that electronic errors did not cause the vehicles to accelerate out of control. Foreign objects, bad floor mats and driver error and numerous other causes have been suggested by the automaker. The NHTSA concurred regarding the lack of an electronics problem. However, the crash data box’s reliability remains in question. Crash data from 2007 involving a Toyota Tundra pickup stated that the truck was traveling in excess of 170 mph, a number that has raised understandable suspicion. Uchiyamada’s conclusion in light of that information is that “the EDR cannot be trusted,” at least not when it comes to speed.

Toyota and the recall nightmare loop

Automotive News reports that Toyota has recalled more than 13 million cars worldwide since November 2009. That includes more than 10 million in the U.S., most related to the issue of unintended acceleration.

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Automotive News

Crash data boxes are NOT event data recorders

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