Toyota Sudden Acceleration: An Example Of How Not To Do A Failure Analysis

P.S. IF YOU’RE DRIVING A TOYOTA, TURN OFF THE CRUISE CONTROL
(see “Toyota Sudden Acceleration Document Withheld From Feds: CNN” by Sharon Silke Carty in the 03/02/12 Huffington Post)

At a crime scene, everyone knows: don’t move the body! Investigators of electronics failures should follow the same rule.

Valuable evidence may be contained in interconnected subassemblies that are initially assumed to be “innocent.” Disconnecting cables, unplugging circuits cards, and other disturbances can cause irretrievable loss of data.

Example: After its investigation of Toyota “sudden acceleration” incidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (as well as Toyota) claimed that the electronics were not at fault. Yet the NHTSA based its conclusions, at least in part, on a postmortem that was performed on a dismantled vehicle, thereby disturbing the accelerator system’s linkages with the cruise control system.

(For an earlier comment on this issue from our Engineering Thinking blog, please see “Toyota Unintended Acceleration: ‘No Electronics-Based Cause’: Not True & Misleading“)

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Posted on March 20, 2012, in Circuit Analysis, Failure Analysis and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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