Toyota says their plans for fixing accelerator problems in their vehicles has worked just fine, regardless of what a Southern Illinois University professor claims. The story inside.
Embattled automaker Toyota held a press conference and photo op yesterday to convince the car buying public that their vehicles are safe. The event was organized to gain credibility following claims by a Southern Illinois University professor that Toyota's sudden acceleration problem is electronic.
Professor David Gilbert of SIU went on record saying that he was able to recreate the sticky gas pedal by adjusting the electronics involved. Further, Gilbert stated that it was possible for no error code to be created from the problem.
Toyota disagrees with Gilbert's findings, and hired a batallion of experts to prove his theory as unrealistic. Amongst them was Stanford University researcher Chris Gerdes, who said the SIU experiment is not possible in the real world.
"You cannot rewire a circuit and expect it to behave as it was designed to," Gerdes told reporters. Gerdes runs Stanford's Center for Automotive Research, and works as an associate professor in mechanical engineering. He believes advanced electronics in vehicles, like stability control, has led to a reduction in driving-related fatalities.
However, Gerdes did backpedal a bit at the event. "I don't want to go on the record saying there is not a problem with Toyota," he was quoted as saying. "I have not studied the matter that well."
Toyota used Irvine, California, engineering company Exponent to replicate the SIU experiment on other vehicles, including the BMW 325i, Ford Fusion, andd Subaru Outback. After the circuitry was changed the way Professor Gilbert outlined, each of the three had similar acceleration problems.
"We don't think there is a ghost issue out there," said electronics general manager Kristen Tabar. However, Tabar, who works at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, did say that more work needs to be done, and that all claims need to be examined.
Nearly eight million Toyota vehicles have been recalled in the last few months.