Event Data Recorders of a Different Kind

On its website, Toyota has a video clip providing its analysis of the runaway Prius in Southern California.  They obtained data from the Prius, demonstrating that the driver of the Prius was alternating between braking and accelerating 250 times.  They point out that the data were not obtained from an event data recorder.   They mean that the data did not come from the vehicle’s ‘black-box’ which in their vehicles stores only 2-5 seconds of data, can be read only by Toyota and customers can get that limited data only with a court order.

That’s a distinction without a difference!   Any logger on the vehicle that stores events from the automobile is an event data recorder (recall that many planes have two black boxes).   It would appear without additional information that they had read the non-volatile memory on the Engine Control Module or other ECU (Electronic Control Unit).    Is it possible to read such data from other Toyota vehicles as well?  Any afflicted parties and NHTSA ought to get a complete listing of what data get stored by each Toyota vehicle.  NHTSA should also be given the means to read that data.

As I have argued in a different posting, Toyota should release what information is stored in each vehicle before future incidents are analyzed.

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