By on October 2, 2015


While working on a story about some very old cars, I stumbled upon something relevant to the latest big story in the automotive world.

I ran into a Model T collector who’s also a powertrain engineer for Ford. Seizing the opportunity, I asked him if he could tell me what he was working on (sometimes they say no). He said that he was responsible for developing computerized engine controls. Because of that expertise, I started to ask him some questions about the software program that Volkswagen apparently used to cheat on the EPA’s diesel emissions testing.

What he was willing to say and what he wouldn’t say intrigued me. (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2012

Security experts told Reuters that car computers “are vulnerable to hacks by attackers looking to steal cars, eavesdrop on conversations, or even harm passengers by causing vehicles to crash” and that automakers have failed to protect these systems.

“You can definitely kill people,” said John Bumgarner, chief technology officer of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit told the wire service. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2010

We’ve gotten hold of documents relating to that other Toyota recall, the one from last fall regarding pedal interference with floor mats. Tying the floor mats to the seats was the short term fix, but now Toyota has the permanent solution. This includes cars with the Denso pedal that is not part of the sticky-pedal recall. The main features: cutting off the bottom of the pedal to make it shorter (yes, with a reciprocating saw) reworking the sound-deadening and carpet near the pedal, and most important, from our point of view, a reflash of the computer to give braking priority over throttle inputs. (Read More…)

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