CED Engineers Provide Expert Analysis Concerning the Toyota Prius Accelerator Situation
On the Scene E-Newsletter, Edition 116, March 18, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, MD, March 11-- Dr. Grant Bevill was recently interviewed on the television show CNN "Rick's List" and also in the San Diego Union Tribune concerning the runaway Toyota Prius accident in the State of California. When Toyota recalled 4.2 million vehicles several months ago, it left little doubt that CED Investigative Technologies would be called upon to provide insight and knowledge as to the probable cause of these "runaway accidents."
CED Investigative Technologies has been investigating and providing forensic engineering analysis for vehicular and product liability cases for over 23 years. CED engineers have been particularly involved in accelerator issues for vehicles dating back to when acceleration was being controlled by a mechanical cable, to the newer vehicles that use a new technology called, "throttle by wire."
The problem with the issues surrounding the Toyota accidents is the technology is quite complex. The first problem is the design of the accelerator. Since 1996 when the patent was filed for the electronic accelerator, most of the major auto manufacturers have adopted the "Throttle by wire." This technology uses electronics in the accelerator pedal to send certain voltages to the electronics on the engine to set a speed of the engine. To provide analysis on a accelerator issue, it is not as easy as inspecting the mechanical device but also involves the electronics.
The second problem relates to the electronic recorder on modern day vehicles. Toyota and the majority of auto manufacturers have what is called a "black box" recorder in most vehicles. This recorder records simple events that can help accident reconstructionists and manufacturers determine the root cause of accidents. However, manufacturers have designed their own modules software as to what events are recorded and what is available to the public. For example, CED engineers can only download data events on certain vehicles from Ford, GM and other manufacturers. The information on Toyota vehicles is still unavailable but will soon be accessible to the general public. CED has a dedicated Vehicle Crash Group that was formed to investigate such issues as data recorders and mechanical failures.
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