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January 31, 2010

What Toyota's accelerator issue and Airbus A320 Crash may have in common

In the video below, you'll see an Air France Airbus A320 crash during takeoff. This takeoff attempt at an airshow was supposed to demonstrate the virtue of fly by wire technology, as it was the first commercial airliner that took inputs from the cockpit controls, fed them into the computer as data, and then had the computer send the commands out to the flight surfaces via hydraulics. This was revolutionary at the time, as this had only previously been used on military aircraft.

So what does this have to do with toyota and stuck accelerator pedals? Perhaps everything and maybe nothing. Poorly designed floor mats, improperly designed gas pedals and defective accelerator control servos could well be to blame. But in cars built with fly by wire accelerator technology (such as those affected by the Toyota recall), the car's computer takes driver input from the gas pedal (as data) sends it to the computer and the computer then tells the car's accelerator what to do.

The problem with the Toyota recall, is that it is so eerily reminiscent of the Ford/Firestone Explorer fiasco. Manufacturer blames the parts supplier and vice versa. We see this pattern emerge again as Toyota blames CTS (parts supplier that makes the pedal assembly).

How long will it be before we find out this was a computer hardware or software issue?

Update 2/4/10

Posted by Robert at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2010

Maia's trip to the Buffalo Museum of Science

maia12710.jpg

See more pictures

Posted by Robert at 07:03 PM | Comments (0)