Top physicist probes unintended acceleration after recalls

Jun 23, 2010
Toyota cars are lined up for sale at a Toyota dealership in Santa Monica, California in February 2010. A prominent US physicist will lead a panel aiming to identify possible causes of unintended acceleration in vehicles on the heels of widespread problems that led Toyota to issue mass recalls.

A prominent US physicist will lead a panel aiming to identify possible causes of unintended acceleration in vehicles on the heels of widespread problems that led Toyota to issue mass recalls.

Louis Lanzerotti, a New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) physics professor with experience in the space and atmospheric areas, will lead a team of 12 other experts seeking to shed light on the problem which rocked the world's biggest carmaker this year.

The study is part of the government's effort to understand what led to the recall of more than eight million Toyotas because of sudden unintended acceleration.

The experts, called together by the National Research Council, will begin meeting June 30 in Washington.

Lanzerotti has extensive research experience in space plasmas, geophysics and engineering problems related to the impacts of atmospheric and space processes, and the space environment on space and terrestrial technologies.

At least 89 deaths have been linked to public complaints of unintended acceleration in vehicles, the US government has said.

A federal judge in California last month ordered the Japanese auto giant to turn over thousands of documents on its vehicles' problems with sudden unintended acceleration at a hearing for a class action suit.

More than 200 federal and some 100 state cases have been filed against the world's leading carmaker for alleged dating back to 2002, when a was installed to manage acceleration. The federal cases have been consolidated into one class action case.

Toyota has pulled around 10 million vehicles worldwide since late last year for safety issues and has paid a record fine of 16.4 million dollars to settle claims that it hid gas pedal defects blamed for dozens of deaths.

Explore further: Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Toyota disputes critic who blames electronics

Mar 08, 2010

(AP) -- Toyota gave detailed evidence Monday that it says disproves claims that electronics may cause the unwanted acceleration that led to the recall of more than 8 million cars and trucks.

Feds to probe cause of runaway Prius in California

Mar 09, 2010

(AP) -- A Toyota Prius that sped out of control on a California freeway was towed to a dealership Tuesday while federal and company inspectors converged on the car to determine whether a stuck gas pedal was ...

Toyota secretive on 'black box' data

Mar 04, 2010

(AP) -- Toyota has for years blocked access to data stored in devices similar to airline "black boxes" that could explain crashes blamed on sudden unintended acceleration, according to an Associated Press ...

Physicist speaks at AAAS symposium about space weather

Feb 17, 2007

Most people leave home without checking the space weather report. But if New Jersey physicist Louis J. Lanzerotti, PhD, distinguished research professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has his way, they won't ...

Recommended for you

Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure

20 hours ago

The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation ...

Seeing through the fog (and dust and snow) of war

Sep 19, 2014

Degraded visibility—which encompasses diverse environmental conditions including severe weather, dust kicked up during takeoff and landing and poor visual contrast among different parts of terrain—often ...

The oscillator that could makeover the mechanical watch

Sep 18, 2014

For the first time in 200 years the heart of the mechanical watch has been reinvented, thereby improving precision and autonomy while making the watch completely silent. EPFL researchers have developed an ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kasen
not rated yet Jun 23, 2010
space plasmas, geophysics and engineering problems related to the impacts of atmospheric and space processes, and the space environment on space and terrestrial technologies


How does any of this relate to automotive engineering? What, they're hoping to explain this off by cosmic rays?
zz6549
not rated yet Jun 23, 2010
He's completely unqualified for this job. He'll undoubtedly come up with some garbage conclusion that Obama will use to vilify industry even further.