Toyota Investigates its Electronic Throttle Control System

Toyota’s biggest recall involving about 8 million units is due to a faulty accelerator pedal, and the Japanese car manufacturer explained that the error was not related to the accelerator’s software.

However, as the mechanical problem is being fixed as we speak in Toyota dealerships around the world, the automaker hired Exponent, an engineering and scientific consulting firm, to conduct an independent analysis of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The investigation is being done using the ETCS-i system (Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence) for concerns related to unintended acceleration.

According to Toyota, it “has provided members of Congress with an interim, first phase report from Exponent on its evaluation of the ETCS-i system, consistent with the company’s commitment to increased transparency regarding the quality and safety of its vehicles.”

“The interim report, dated February 4, 2010, notes that Exponent was unable to induce unintended acceleration in any of the ETCS-i equipped Toyota and Lexus vehicles it tested. In all cases, the vehicle either behaved normally or entered a fail-safe mode where engine power was significantly reduced or shut off.”

“Exponent’s testing and evaluation is ongoing.  Its first phase evaluation was performed by a team that included both engineers and technicians with specialized knowledge in mechanical, electrical, and automotive engineering and involved extensive testing on multiple vehicles and individual components under a variety of normal and abnormal conditions.”

Unfortunately, the accelerator pedal is only one of Toyota’s problems. The car manufacturer also announced recalls related to a faulty breaking system on the Prius and the front drive shaft on the Tacoma 4WD trucks.
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