The investigation into the causes of acceleration in Toyota vehicles has taken a unexpected turn, with the Obama administration this week announcing that it was bringing in NASA scientists to help with the investigation.
There has speculation for quite a few weeks now that the causes for the acceleration go beyond floor mats or gas pedals. Space radiation experts have put forward the theory that modern vehicles with the massive amount of electronic circuitry they have on board, could be at risk from interference from space radiation. The effects of such radiation on consumer goods like cell phones and computers, have been known for a while now. These space radiation experts believe that Toyota cars, which come with massive amounts of electronics, could be at special risk for interference from cosmic rays. The announcement that the Toyota probe will now include NASA scientists has lent credence to those theories.
The Obama administration has also asked the National Academy of Sciences undertake a separate study into computer technologies in vehicles. This study will last for 15 months. The study is expected to look into the potential of computer malfunctioning and electromagnetic interference as factors in acceleration in these vehicles.
Toyota has thus far stubbornly refused to admit that there could be any problem with its electronics. In fact, it has all but ruled out any such electronic issues as a factor in the acceleration, and has consistently blamed the gas pedal and floor mats for the problem. This is, even as all evidence seems to point at electronic glitches.
As the investigation progresses, one thing is clear – we are even further from finding out what is causing these vehicles to accelerate, than when the scandal first broke. That’s definitely not good.