Whatever happened to people talking without the chip? In other words, whatever happened to ‘straight talk’ where both parties walk away smiling?
Toyota is involved in a legal battle pertaining to the automakers’ security measures. It is related to Toyota Motors Corporation’s sudden vehicle acceleration troubles. Toyota has claimed that it was the floor mats, sticking accelerators and even driver error. However, the other side thinks it is Toyota’s electronic black-box code as the cause of runaway cars.
The legal battle involves access to Toyota’s source code or the software that controls highly sophisticated engine management and other electronics (anti-lock brakes, door modules, transmission modules, etc.) at the heart of vehicle control.
Toyota has been opposing access to the software, purporting it needs to protect what it terms the ‘crown jewels’ of its global success.
The automaker contends that the opposing attorneys should only be allowed to view parts of the software code in a highly secure room. Furthermore, Toyota is also demanding attorneys have iris and palm scans to know who is viewing the software. Furthermore, the automaker wants all software documents to be connected with tracking tags known as radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.
Toyota was quoted in USA Today as saying, the measures “are necessary to ensure that portions of this valuable asset do not make their way beyond the walls of any secure facility.”
Attorneys on both sides have been working almost 24-7 to iron out an agreed upon security measure. The attorneys who have filed numerous law suits against Toyota want their own engineers to examine the automaker’s source code because they think that it will reveal electronic flaws. The incidents of unintended acceleration caused Toyota to recall millions of vehicles globally in 2009.
According to plaintiff lawyers involved in the case, larger payouts can be obtained if it can be proven in court that Toyota software code was defective and the automaker avoided correcting it.
A recent government study suggested that electronics were not to blame but rather insisted driver error was the problem. However, the plaintiff’s attorneys contend that the government study did not analyze enough source code and that the study was conducted in conjunction with Toyota.
The plaintiffs in the battle have agreed to some of Toyota’s demands including using a secure room to protect against code stealing. Furthermore, it is reported that the agreed upon details for the viewing of code will likely be kept from the public.
There is one thing not disputed in this dispute and it is that both sides agree that getting to the bottom of things will be highly expensive. It will involve translating 78,000 documents from Japanese into English plus the costly labeling of source code with RFIDs.
Maybe the plain ‘old-fashion’ way of talking to neighbors continues to be quite useful and refreshing as both parties end up walking away quite happy and looking forward to the next encounter! And regarding that next appointment, we can surely remember it without electronics since enjoyment and goodwill are easy to remember.
Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price…” He welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site: DriveTheBestBook.com . Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.