The Auto Prophet doubts Toyota defect is in electronic throttle control 

Lost in much of the media coverage of the Toyota safety recall controversy is objective technical analysis by credible automotive engineers. Until now, anyway, thanks to The Auto Prophet.

Lost in much of the media coverage of the Toyota safety recall controversy is objective technical analysis by credible automotive engineers. Until now, anyway, thanks to The Auto Prophet.

The Auto Prophet is a respected blogger who describes himself as "an engineer working in product development for an American automotive company. I am a member of the SAE."

I've relied on The Auto Prophet for years as a credible source for technical analyses on a variety of issues. As two separate congressional panels hear testimony this week from such notables as Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood and Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, the grand son of the company founder, The Auto Prophet has weighed in with a technical assessment of electronic throttle control technology.

He notes that "ETC systems engineers know that complex systems are designed, tested, and validated over many years before being released into production, and are tested for every conceivable failure. ETC systems must be qualified under a range of temperatures and wide band electromagnetic interference testing.

"Failure modes, such as cut wires, broken sensors, damaged actuators, etc. are all tested using a process called FMEA (failure mode effects analysis). FMEA was designed by NASA as a way to think through a system's reliabilty to pin down possible ways it could break; then tests are designed to validate the system under those conditions."

Given all that, is it still possible that Toyota's problems stem from a flaw in its ETC? The Auto Prophet says its possible, but unlikely. To read the rest of his assessment, which is written for non-techies, go here.

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Mark Tapscott

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