ABC News tests Toyota, finds a reason for runaways

So, after the news that Toyota has turned over “secret” documents to the US Government, it looks like ABC News has tested a Toyota Avalon and found what could be a reason for the unintended acceleration.  They’ve found that an electrical problem is causing a surge of engine power, letting the car become a runaway.  Follow the jump for video and more explanation.

David Gilbert, a professor of automotive technology at Southern Illinois University, worked with ABC News in a test of a Toyota Avalon to determine the cause of the pedal-caused acceleration, not to be confused with the floor mat-caused acceleration.  With an electrical mechanism connected to the sensors on the gas pedal, Mr. Gilbert flipped the switch while ABC News‘ Brian Ross drove the car.  The mechanism is designed to cause a short in the sensors, which the car’s computer is supposed to interpret as a problem and go into “limp home” mode, where the car’s performance is degraded until the vehicle is turned off and back on again.  During the test, it was found that the car ran away anyway.

Toyota responded with its own press release, stating that the short caused by Mr. Gilbert’s device would not cause any unintended acceleration, but after viewing the video below, I’m sure that there is definitely something wrong here.  As Toyota has said, moisture can cause problems over time with their gas pedals, but their mechanical fix sure isn’t going to fix an electrical problem.  The video below also shows that the average driver’s reflex reaction will be to hit the brakes, which also didn’t work to overpower the engine’s surge, a scary thing when you realize that the Avalon in the test was going 20 mph before the short, and sped up to 70 mph during the test.  Scary stuff. Check back with us later in the week, after the Congressional hearings on Thursday.

by John Suit

Source: ABC News, Toyota

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