Toyota is admitting that its black-box recorder readers have an error that can cause erroneous speed readings, as demonstrated by a 2007 Tundra crash in which the black box indicated a 170 MPH crash speed. Toyota R&D boss Takeshi Uchiyamada tells Automotive News [sub]
Toyota has acknowledged previously that the event data recorders are not accurate. We have been able to determine that there is no defect in the event data recorders… we have found that there was a software bug in the event data recorder readers that download data. The bug had to do with data that indicated speed
Though this is a far cry from the “ghost in the machine” that many seemed to think was causing Toyotas to run out of control, it does cast some doubt on NHTSA’s finding that brakes were not applied in “dozens” of cases… but not directly. After all, just because the black box readers misread recorded speeds doesn’t mean that none of their readings can be trusted. Still, yet another problem with Toyota’s gear will only further cloud the appropriate conclusion from the Toyota Unintended Acceleration scandal: that driver error was the main cause of the frenzy. And because of Toyota’s strange pre-scandal black-box reader policies, this latest revelation only heightens the mystery surrounding what should be a fairly open-and-shut case.