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A Note on Automobile Cruise Control Faults and Sudden or Unintended Acceleration

by Dr Antony Anderson C.Eng FIEE


                                                                                             PART 15 - TOYOTA

Land Rover

 13th December 2013 LA Times : Article by Ken Bensinginger   
Toyota, in settlement mode, reaches deal in W. Virginia acceleration case (Vance v. Toyota) 

A day after opening talks to resolve hundreds of sudden-acceleration cases in federal and state court in California, Toyota Motor Corp. has settled a separate lawsuit, filed in West Virginia.On Friday, the Japanese automaker reached a confidential agreement with Opal Gay Vance, whose 2010 Camry accelerated and crashed into a trailer and injured her back and neck, her attorney said.The case had been scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 21, making it the next sudden-acceleration case Toyota was expected to face anywhere in the country. “There seemed to be a pretty clear purpose on Toyota’s part to get a deal done” and keep the case out of court, attorney Edgar “Hike” Heiskell said. “There was a real sense of motivation on that side of the table.”   A spokeswoman for Toyota declined comment.

          Allen Gilman was pulling into the driveway of his Thurber Avenue home at a crawl when, with his foot still on the brakes,
          his 2003 Toyota Camry lurched forward and crashed into garage.

October - November 2013
Technical Comment on Expert testimony provided by
Dr Michael Barr in 
Bookout v. Toyota Case

            27 November 2013 EE Journal : Article by Jim Turley

                Cars, Coding, and Carelessness
                Sloppy Coding Practices Led to a Fatal Crash [Bookout v Toyota]

20 November 2013 EE Times : Junko Yoshida

            Toyota Exec Is (a) Generic, (b) Skeptical, (c) Mum : Silence on unintended acceleration           
            8 November 2013
Design News : Charles Murray, Senior Technical Editor

Embedded Expert: No Pedal Misapplication in Toyota Case


31 October 2013 EE Times :  Junko Yoshida

Toyota Case: Vehicle Testing Confirms Fatal Flaws


30 October 2013 EE Times : Junko Yoshida

Toyota Case: Inside Camry’s Electronic Control Module  


28 October 2013 EE Times : Blog by  Junko Yoshida

Toyota Trial: Transcript Reveals 'Task X' Clues


28 October 2013 EE Times: Article by Michael Dunn, Editor in Chief

Toyota's Killer Firmware: Bad Design & Its Consequences .   

Full article  by Michael Dunn in EDN Network


25 October 2013 EE Times :  Blog by Junko Yoshida

Why Toyota’s Oklahoma Case Is Different


25 October 2013 EE Times : Blog by Junko Yoshida

Toyota Case: Single Bit Flip That Killed  


24 October 2013 EE Times : Blog by  Junko Yoshida

Acceleration Case: Jury Finds Toyota Liable

Dr Michael Barr's Testimony in Bookout v Toyota
                Slide presentation


  • November 19th 2012 : CHINA : A Toyota Zelas car was seriously damaged after a crash due to a failure of the   braking system during cruise control on the Hanghzou-Pudong Expressway. Source China Radio International. Toyota (China) declared on Tuesday 4th December 2012  that the failure of the braking system of a Toyota Zelas during cruise control on Hangzhou-Pudong Expressway is still under investigation, Shanghai newspaper Eastday reported on 6th December 2012.
  •   Aug 30th 2012 : United Arab Emirates: Driver of runaway Toyota Land Cruiser stuck at 120kph files complaint

             By David Fitzpatrick and Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit

  • Sept 23rd 2011 CALCE : Prediction of Potential Failures Risks in Toyota Vehicles Confirmed by NASA Scientists  Investigations of Toyota vehicles have revealed tin whiskers in a critical component of their vehicle engine control system. At the September CALCE Conference on Tin Whiskers, Henning Leidecker and his team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who are recognized experts on electronic device failure and tin whiskers, presented their studies of tin whiskers on Toyota vehicles. They determined that the risk of failure due to tin whisker shorting in affected Toyota vehicles can be on the order of 50 to 150 per million. This figure agrees with the number reported in a recently published scientific journal article [Sood et al.] written by CALCE researchers Bhanu Sood, Michael Osterman, and Michael Pecht. They assessed the probability of a tin whisker–induced electrical short to be 140 per 1 million, based on whisker growth statistics.
  • Sept 14th 2011 NASA :  Electrical Failure of an Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor Caused by a Tin Whisker and Discussion of Investigative Techniques Used for Whisker Detection  A tin whisker-induced short was responsible for the failure of a 2003 Toyota Camry Accelerator Pedal Position (APP) Sensor based on a dual potentiometer. The NHTSA report states warranty analyses dentified at least two additional falures due to tin whiskers in similarly designed APP sensors 

  • Feb 18 2011 NHTSA issues redacted NASA report entitled "National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Toyota Unintended Acceleration Investigation'.  Redacted report and appendices available at:
    • Note by AFA: This NASA technical report is of the highest importance for the future safety of millions of motorists worldwide. In my opinion redaction undermines the work carried out by NASA. Only with free and open discussion of the full contents of the report will the state of the art regarding the causes of sudden acceleration be advanced. Click to download pdf entitled: Redaction in the 2011 NASA Report "NHTSA Toyota Unintended Acceleration Investigation"
The following information was available at the time of the trial but as of September  28th 2010 is no longer available on the internet:

  • Feb 12 2010  Toyota strongly denies any "problems with the electronics of its vehicles"in a letter to Congress.  ABC News By JOSEPH RHEE, MARK SCHONE and MEGAN CHUCHMACH Feb. 12. On Feb 2 2010 Darrell Issa, Representative Member of the US House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Government, wrote a letter to Toyota seeking clarification on various issues including the possibile role of electromagnetic interference in causing sudden accelerations. Toyota replied in a letter to Congress dated Feb 9th 2010, strongly denied any "problems with the electronics of its vehicles" and said an outside engineering firm (Exponent) had cleared its electronic throttle control system of any problems and that the system "performed as designed."

  • Jan 27th 2010 Texas Star Telegram :  Dozens of sudden-acceleration incidents documented in Texas  At least 103 cases of sudden, uncommanded acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles have been documented in Texas since 2000, mostly involving the popular Toyota Camry and Lexus ES models. The figures are compiled by Safety Research & Strategies Inc., a private safety advising and consulting service, from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and complaints the firm received directly.
  • Jan 19th 2010  Woman freed from 'hanging' car. Woman leaving a level 1 carpark in an office block in George Street, Parramatta, Sydney, Australia lost control of her Toyota Corolla, hit the building's brick wall and smashed through it. The vehicle was left hanging in mid air with the driver trapped.   Also Video

  • November 26th 2009: LA Times:Toyota to fix 'very dangerous' gas pedal defects. The recall, which covers 4.26 million cars and trucks, is aimed at reducing the vehicles' risk of sudden accelerations, which have led to 19 deaths since the 2002 model year.
  • October 17th 2009 : LA Times: Toyota's runaway-car worries may not stop at floor mats:A fatal accident in San Diego raises the question: Might a vehicle's complex electronic features make it hard for drivers to react quickly when accelerating out of control?,0,739395.story

  • October 16th 2009 : NEW YORK, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Shortly after the announcement by Toyota Motors that certain of its vehicles were experiencing sudden, dangerous and uncontrollable acceleration, a Queens NY couple has commenced a suit for serious injuries because this happened to them earlier this year only two months after they bought their 2009 Toyota RAV-4 SUV.
  • April 21st 2009 Houston News :Wild Rides - Between serious safety and environmental concerns, the Toyota Prius isn't the angel that everyone thinks it is. Article mainly on uncommanded sudden acceleration incidents by Paul Knight.

  • April 7, 2008 Toyota Tacoma : Toyota pickup probe pushed :Sudden acceleration claims hard to pin down
    BY JUSTIN HYDE • DETROIT FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF • It's a wonder Frank Visconi walked away from the crash that turned his new Toyota Tacoma pickup into an unrecognizable mush of metal, plastic and dirt. But Visconi has a different wonder -- why Toyota doesn't believe his complaints of sudden acceleration.

  • Nov 1st  2007 TOYOTA TACOMA  "A growing number of people are complaining about their 2007 Toyota Tacomas".  Problems with the vehicle include a sudden acceleration, even when drivers said they pressed on the brakes.

  • January 9 2006 A wild ride in a Prius: A 2005 Toyota Prius driven by Herbert of Battle Creek rampaged out of control on a Michigan highway in October 2005, endangering the driver as well as those nearby. It's the second known incident of sudden, uncontrolled acceleration in the computer-controlled hybrids.  The incident occurred with cruise control engaged at 55 mph when  driver accelerated to overtake a slower vehicle The driver let off the accelerator and pressed the brakes several times, but the vehicle continued to accelerate under full power. The driver unsuccessfully tried to slow the vehicle by pushing the power button, manipulating the cruise control lever, and putting the vehicle in neutral. By applying full braking power the driver was eventually able to bring the vehicle to a halt. On pushing the power button the vehicle then shut down. The dealer was able to reproduce the fault but could not identify the cause.

  • January 9 2006  Automotive News: Toyota wins at NHTSA ...but loses a customer On July 5, Jordan Ziprin's 2002 Toyota Camry shot backward out of a driveway and crashed. Since then, the 74-year-old Phoenix lawyer has insisted that the electronic throttles of some 2002-05 Toyota and Lexus vehicles are defective. Ziprin inundated the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with documents that he says prove his point. But last week, NHTSA - which has a long history of ruling against claims of unintended vehicle acceleration - rejected Ziprin's petition. Agency officials, who say driver error causes most sudden-acceleration incidents, found no evidence of a defect.  In 2004 NHTSA reached the same conclusion after it investigated similar complaints about 2002-03 Toyota and Lexus vehicles. But Ziprin told Automotive News last week: "I'm not going to let this go. I would be more than happy to cross-examine" NHTSA's experts.

  • November 15 2005 Prius Runs Amok After Stalling, Hits Tow Truck: A Toyota Prius suddenly stalled, then unaccountably took off and smashed into the tow truck that had come to remove it. Toyota has warned Prius owners of a software glitch that can cause the hybrid cars to suddenly stall or shut down and federal safety regulators are looking into the problem.

  • August 11, 2005  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation of several Toyota models because of uncontrollable and unintended acceleration while the vehicle is in reverse. The agency has received 13 reports of accidents because of the uncontrollable acceleration.  NHTSA has received complaints involving the Camry, Solara, Lexus, ES, ES 300, ES 330 losing throttle control while the vehicle is reversing out of a driveway. The vehicles were all manufactured between 2000 and 1005. [NHTSA Action Number: DP05002]

  • Feb 22 2005 France: Toyota Corolla speed regulator fails to disengage at a toll station on the Chambery - Grenoble Autoroute. 5 people hospitalised. Le Monde

  • July 27 2004 Reuters : US Closes Safety Probe of Camry, Lexus Models

  • April 13 2004 : Statement from Toyota Motor Sales USA Media Relations re. NHTSA Camry and Lexus Investigation

  • April 1, 2004   Federal safety officials are  investigating reports that the Toyota Camry and other models may have a   defect that causes sudden   acceleration surges. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it has received reports of 30 crashes that  injured at least five people, when some Toyota Camry, Camry Solara and Lexus ES300 vehicles suddenly and unexpectedly surged forward. [ Link not valid Aug 05]

  • February 4 2004 : Toyota Camry 2002 Model: Report of Sudden Acceleration Problem when approaching traffic lights to turn left. Vehicle went straight on. Brakes and handbrake of no effect. Travelled 1/4 mile and brought to halt in a snow bank.

  • March 2001: 53,061 Toyota Camrys built between 1998-2001were recalled. "On certain passenger vehicles built at Toyota’s Kentucky plant, the accelerator cable housing could be deformed at the cruise control actuator-to-throttle body connection.  The accelerator inner-cable could wear away and eventually break, allowing the throttle to return to idle or remain in its most recent position regardless of accelerator pedal operation.  This could increase the risk of a crash." [NHTSA Recall No. 01V012M]

  • 1986 : 4561 1982 Model Year Toyota Cressidas, Celicas and Celica Supras were recalled  because soldered terminals of the cruise control module may develop cracks due to improper application of the coating to the printed circuit board. "During the manufacturing process of the cruise control computer, the printed circuit board may have had improper application of its coating, which could cause the soldered terminals of the IC to develop cracks. Continuing use may lead to a complete separation of the soldered terminals, resulting in non-conductivity of the circuit. In the worst failed circuit case, should the engine be started with the cruise control main switch in the "On" position, the engine speed may instantly race, and if the driver of an automatic transmission-equipped vehicle shifts into "D" or "R" without firmly applying the brake pedal, the vehicle could suddenly accelerate."  [NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 86V132000]

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Last updated May 15th 2012, August 30th 2012 November 2013, February 2nd 2014, 5th May 2014
Antony Anderson