Toyota is shipping hundreds of data-decoding machines to the U.S. to make them commercially available in the wake of complaints that the event data recorders on their vehicles are encoded in such a way as to only be readable by machines owned by Toyota. Up until now, there was only one such decoder in the United States. Increased pressure from lawmakers and lawyers has compelled Toyota to make these decoders available, so that the information may be accessed by law enforcement agencies or consumers.
There is a federal rule in place that is set to require that such data be accessible by consumers starting in 2012, and Toyota is taking steps to make the units commercially available by 2011. Making better use of the “˜black-box data” was one of the key changes outlined by Akio Toyoda last week.
While some say that such data will be helpful in the determination of causes of such crashes, others question the value of such information as the boxes only record events for a few seconds leading up to a crash.
– By: Stephen Calogera