According to Dave Gilbert, a professor of Southern Illinois University’s auto technology department, a flaw in the design of the company’s acceleration system prevents the vehicle’s onboard computer from detecting and stopping certain short circuits that can trigger sudden speed surges.
Gilbert told ABC News, that the Toyota computer does not record an error code, nor does it activate the “fail safe” system designed to shut down power.
“This is a dangerous condition, it is not fail safe,” said Gilbert in an interview to be broadcast Monday on ABC World News. “If there was this kind of fault, it will never set an error code,” said Gilbert. As a result, he said, there will be “no fingerprints, no trail” when Toyota engineers inspect a car after an accident or incident of sudden acceleration.
Hit the jump for the video showing Gilbert’s finding.
In a statement released Monday night in response to Glibert’s finding, Toyota said:
“…what Mr. Gilbert described would not cause unintended acceleration to occur. In fact, under the abnormal condition described last week by Mr. Gilbert, if there is a short with low resistance between the two signals, the electronic throttle control system illuminates the ‘check engine’ light and the vehicle enters into a fail-safe mode of engine idle operation. If there is a short with high resistance, outside the range of “check engine” light illumination, the accelerator pedal continues to be responsive to driver input and the vehicle will return to the idle condition when the foot is taken off of the accelerator pedal. Unintended acceleration would not occur.”
Toyota said that it was surprised to learn that Gilbert appears now to be making a different claim regarding the electronic throttle control system and in a vehicle other than as described to Toyota last week. It said that it the company welcomes the opportunity to evaluate the Avalon sedan shown in the story and the method by which Gilbert caused the vehicle to accelerate unintentionally. it said that it welcomes the attendance of ABC News at any such evaluation of this vehicle and Mr. Gilbert’s testing.
– By: Omar Rana