By on February 9, 2010

Perhaps the biggest surprise of Jim Lentz’s appearance on Digg Dialogue was the number of questions that were unrelated to Toyota’s ongoing recalls and quality issues. But even if crowdsourcing had yielded a number of truly tough questions, Lentz had access to them ahead of the interview, giving him time to craft slippery answers. Still, the session provides an interesting of a preview of Toyota’s defense ahead of tomorrow’s congressional hearing. The main thrust: unintended acceleration is mysterious phenomenon, and finding a common cause for multiple incidents could be nearly impossible. Unless investigators find a ghost in Toyota’s electronics code, that may be as good of an answer as we’re ever going to get.

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11 Comments on “Toyota’s Jim Lentz Digg Dialogues...”

  • avatar

    Digg is like Slashdot for idiots.

    • 0 avatar


      We need slashdot mod points here, this is a 5.


      This is half a sarcastic response and half not:
      Are any of these people pushing the clutch in to stop the acceleration?

      (Sarcastic = why no clutch? Not Sarcastic = Any reports on M/Ts?

    • 0 avatar

      Actually Digg and Slashdot are both much the same – except that Slashdot users are under the illusion that they are better informed.

    • 0 avatar

      Slashdot is what it is. I look it at like the AARP: it’s very important to those involved and has a valid view on things it’s informed on, which is greatly selective.

      You’re right though — sometimes they’re about as rational about some things as *ahem* certain people are about alternative fuels and climate change here :D

  • avatar

    That video is 28 minutes long, and 28 minutes of PR speak is awful long to stomach. I have to wonder how many people will actually sit down and watch all of that, even for all the people that bothered to ask a question on that “Digg Dialogue” page?

  • avatar

    I’m obviously pro Toyota here, but why is TTAC so against them? I watched the 28 minutes and thought he addressed each concern with the facts. Plenty of people are speculating about other possible problems, but there are just as many people speculating about all of the other brands.

    • 0 avatar

      Read anything here with “GM” “Opel” “Spyker” “SAAB” or “Volt” in the title with an overly friendly tone? Not in the last 3 months you haven’t.

      It’s just the news — the only ‘exclusive’ on Toyota (meaning different from what everyone was posting on the web) was the pedal disassembly and commentary . . . if anything that was being helpful.

    • 0 avatar

      We’re equal opportunity here. I can only think of two auto manufacturers not to get hit on this site – Little Tykes and Mattel’s Hot Wheels. Everyone else watch out!

  • avatar

    If the problem lies in the control software, it will be a bear to find. Writing in a hard override that says, “When the brake pedal is pressed, ignore everything else and apply the brakes”, will stop the runaways, but it won’t do anything to discover where and why the software is going wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Locock

      That wouldn’t be the only way to do it. Hardware in the Loop (HiL) testing takes the computer and sensor hardware out of the of the car and then uses a computer to drive it with combinations of all possible signal states (including error states). Then you monitor the output from the computer, and when it does something silly, you know what inputs caused that to happen.

  • avatar

    Generally the order for the Prius should be :
    Electronic drive for MG1 or MG2 has internal fault, inhibit MG1.

    Foot brake at full travel or parking brake on, inhibit MG1 ( effectively disconnects engine ).

    MG2 the main traction motor is only allowed a 10kw regen.
    In the event that the battery controller suddenly disallowed this much braking recharge current because the battery State Of Charge was about to exceed 80% (considered the highest safe level for battery longevity) I would say that the mechanical braking system could easily subsume this.

    If we are expected to believe that both the brake and accelerator inputs can be ignored – an intermittent ground wire perhaps ? – then Toyota will have to include a redundant sytem with independent brake and accelerator pedal sensors to preclude that scenario.

    I absolutely don’t expect that Toyota will hand over their source code to federal regulators as it is usually treated as a trade secret.

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