Magazine article ASEE Prism

Experts at Odds

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Experts at Odds

Article excerpt

AS THE ONGOING SAGA over runaway Toyota vehicles continues, several engineering academics have become embroiled in the controversy.The car manufacturer has recalled millions of vehicles, responding to complaints that they're susceptible to sudden, unintended acceleration. Toyota has insisted that the problem - which federal officials say has caused 43 crashes and 52 deaths - is mechanical, not electronic. But in late February, David Gilbert, an associate professor of automotive engineering at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, testified before Congress that he could cause Toyotas to suddenly accelerate by introducing short circuits into their electronic throttle systems - flaws that the internal computer didn't record, and that kept the cars' fail-safe system from activating. …

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