Toyota gives black box readers to help analyze technical problems

08:41, May 06, 2010      

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Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U. S.A. Inc. said on Wednesday that it has provided 150 Event Data Recorder (EDR) readout devices in North America and U.S. territories to help understand how a vehicle's various systems functioned in a crash.

So far the Torrance-based Toyota and Lexus vehicle distributor has delivered 14 of these devices to regulatory agencies in the United States and Canada. Of these, 10 were shipped to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) and four EDR readout units and supporting software were given to Transport Canada, the company said in a statement.

The equipment will enable vehicle safety watchdogs to retrieve data from EDRs in Toyota and Lexus vehicles during investigations on their own. The world's largest automaker is actively training internal and field staff on their use, the company said.

"By increasing the number of Event Data Recorder readout devices and training more staff across the country, Toyota is better prepared to respond to customer concerns quickly and address their needs more effectively," said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota Chief Quality Officer for North America.

Toyota was harshly criticized by members of U.S. congress and regulatory agencies for refusing to share black box data it had downloaded from wrecked cars in the wake of massive vehicle recalls since November. TMS president has promised in early March that three data readers would be rushed to the NHTSA immediately, and that more would be made available by the middle of 2011.

An EDR records specific vehicle information in the event of air bag deployment or sufficient impact. It will be used to assist in accident investigations and, where appropriate, the evaluation of reports of unintended acceleration where there was impact or vehicle damage, according to TMS.

In addition to providing more date readout devices, Toyota is also developing new policies and procedures in response to direct customer requests for EDR readouts and data hand-off to help ensure a smoother, more informed process for all parties involved, TMS said.

Toyota also seeks to achieve the goal of start selling readers and software package ahead of the 2012 federal deadline, it added.



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