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6/11/2014 - Updated the original post by entering direct links to reference material, and added remarks about the legal issues involved with...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Admitted-crook Toyota chickens out on driverless cars

Talk about a thigh-slappin' hoot:

Toyota - that paragon of the best money can buy when it comes to electronic throttle controls - sez they're not interested in this "driverless" car thing. And nobody can blame 'em. After all, if their vehicles didn't have a driver, who would the admitted crook blame when their little glitch-mobiles sped out of control?

Yessir, with hundreds of pending lawsuits revolving around evidence of electronic defects in that pesky ol' throttle control, they know better than to dabble about in the world of cars that drive themselves. Just think how utterly terrified Toyota must be at the thought of wunna their vehicles speeding out of control with no driver to blame. No possibilities for blabber about pedal confusion, medical conditions, floor mats, or sticky accelerators.

I'll bet Toyota's Washington gang is breathin' a sigh of relief. U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, along with the admitted crook's new "safety monitor," the "investigators" at NHTSA, and our "representatives" in Congress must be high fivin' each other. No tellin' how much sleep they've lost worrying about wunna Toyota's "driverless" vehicles takin' off with nobody and no thing to blame but their good friend's electronics. In fact, I'll bet the entire auto industry is relieved by Toyota's decision to stay out of the "driverless" car business.

Embedded systems expert Michael Barr must be rollin' in the aisles. He's the guy who examined Toyota's much ballyhooed source code for 18 months, found electronic defects galore, and convinced an Oklahoma jury to return a guilty verdict in that landmark unintended acceleration case last October. In spite of a well-orchestrated effort by government, the auto industry, and mainstream media stooges to keep things quiet, word has gotten out about the "house of cards" architecture in Toyota's electronic throttle control. Read trade journal EDN's article, "Toyota's Killer Firmware: Bad Design and its Consequences." Here's what Mr. Barr found:

* Toyota's electronic throttle control system (ETCS) source code is of unreasonable quality.

* Toyota's source code is defective and contains bugs, including bugs that can cause unintended acceleration (UA).

* Code-quality metrics predict presence of additional bugs.

* Toyota's fail-safes are defective and inadequate (referring to them as a 'house of cards' safety architecture).

* Misbehaviours of Toyota's ETCS are a cause of UA.

The jury was so incensed they declared Toyota guilty of reckless disregard in the way the throttle control was designed. Looked bad for the entire auto industry, 'cause other makes - Jeeps are notorious for speeding out of control at carwahes - have also been involved. In fact, as NHTSA (No Help To Solve Anything) stonewalls the evidence, the National Carwash Association has been takin' notes. Is it any wonder that Toyota immediately went into settlement mode when the Oklahoma jury's sentiments were revealed?

Just think of the money ol' Sammy's corporate friends in the auto industry would be be out if they had to install the kinda failsafes that have been required for years in the airline industry. Amidst the current epidemic of runaway vehicles crashing into buildings and causing deaths, injuries, and close calls galore, it all boils down to teamwork. By not dabbling in driverless cars, admitted-crook Toyota is simply doing their part to see that their team prevails. Can't blame 'em fer that, can ya?

Consumers should be thrilled.

Update 9/10/2014 - Speaking of driverless cars, Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts featured some apt remarks in his introduction to a guest article, "Putting Big Brother in the Driver's Seat: V2V Transmitters, Black Boxes & Drones."