By on September 14, 2010
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.
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8 Comments on “Toyota Admits To Black Box Reader Error But Insists It’s Not A Defect...”

  • avatar

    Aren’t black boxes not “official” until some time in the future?  Until that time, they are uncertified reporters of information about the car – they have not been subjected to any certification or inspection. Toyota can have computers recording whatever they want (even if its incorrect) until “official”.  I have always been concerned about these “unofficial” black boxes “testifying” about information.  In a court of law the information from the “unofficial” boxes is here say.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. Until there are common requirements for these things, the contents of Toyota’s black box are irrelevant.
      If Toyota claims the data absolves them, plaintiffs won’t believe it.  Besides, you need an independent reader using a standard protocol to verify the data, not Toyota.

  • avatar

    A GM product control unit, whatever it controls, right down to the VIN (1G=US produced), in a Toyota article.

  • avatar

    @tced2, go back and read Bertel’s piece on TMC’s black boxes… any for you other two, there is a nice pic of a (perhaps TMC even) black box in-situ as the banner photo in that piece.

  • avatar

    There’s nothing mysterious about it.  Showing a GM control module isn’t any different than showing a VW spare tire or a Chrysler fender.  It’s like showing a picture of John Wayne for an article about Michael Jackson.  Using the term “black box” infers that it is something along the lines of the “black box” flight recorders on passenger jets.  It’s not even close to that.

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