A US government commissioned study found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles that could have caused unintended acceleration incidents.
The study, which was carried out by NASA space agency engineers, concluded that sticking accelerator pedals and a design flaw that enabled accelerator pedals to become trapped by floor mats“remain the only known causes for these kinds of unsafe unintended acceleration incidents.” These two issues were already identified more than a year ago.
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement: “We enlisted the best and brightest engineers to study Toyota’s electronics systems and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas.”
The Japanese carmaker expressed relief that its so-called “Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i)" was found not to have been involved in any of the past incidents of reported unintended acceleration.
“We hope this important study will help put to rest unsupported speculation about Toyota's ETCS-i, which is well-designed and well-tested to ensure that a real world, un-commanded acceleration of the vehicle cannot occur, “said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America.
The overall findings did result in new planned safety moves by US authorities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing rules by the end of the year to require brake-override systems. It also wants to mandate the installation of event-data recorders in all passenger vehicles.
In addition, the agency is proposing to start a research program to see whether design and placement of accelerator and brake pedals can be improved.