Ever since Toyota’s recent problems hit “frenzy” level on our mainstream media monitoring system, speculation has been rampant that some mysterious electronic problem was at the root of the unintended acceleration scandal. We’ve been wary of jumping on the “ghost-in-the-machine” bandwagon, for a number of reasons, chief among which is the fact that it seems to be the product of an inability to explain specific instances of unintended acceleration, rather than hard evidence. Given that unintended acceleration occurs at the intersection of man and machine, good old-fashioned human error is an easier assumption than mystery software errors. Given the worrying results of our Toyota gas pedal analysis, we’ve been content to explain the situation on a combination of pedals, mats and human error. But now ABC News may just have the first positive evidence of an electronic problem that could explain the mystery behind Toyota’s unintended acceleration problem. Dave Gilbert of Southern Illinois University has found that it’s possible to cause unintended acceleration without it triggering an error code that might give some kind of clue as to its cause. Combined with our finding that Toyota actively conceals data from its black box data recorders (out of line with standard industry practice), this could be some of the first positive evidence that there’s more to the “ghost in the machine” theory than mere panic-driven speculation.
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