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>Declaraction of chief engineer of the first generation Prius

4 Mar

>Y.. abro comillas:

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MARCH 2, 2010
Chairman Rockefeller, Ranking Member Hutchison, members of the Committee, thank you for
inviting me to address you today. My name is Takeshi Uchiyamada. I am an Executive Vice
President of the Toyota Motor Corporation, and I am the Chief Engineer for the global
Since I was a child, I have been interested in technology and science. Stories about great
inventors such as Edison, Bell and Ford fascinated me, and I dreamed of developing a car that
everyone around the world would love. From the time I joined Toyota, I have been engaged
in developing vehicles and engineering technology with my wonderful and experienced
I was fortunate to be the chief engineer of the first generation Prius. I helped plan and
develop the first mass‐produced hybrid in the world, and this hybrid led other automakers to
realize the importance of environmentally friendly technology. What impressed me most is
the fact that consumers had greater environmental awareness than we did as automakers.
Our customers helped make hybrid cars popular and used widely around the world today.
Today, I would like to focus my comments on Toyota’s approach to safety, our views on engine
throttle control systems – or ETCS – and how we are applying advanced technology to further
address the issue of unintended acceleration.
As Toyota’s President Akio Toyoda testified to Congress last week, Toyota’s priority has
traditionally been the following: First; Safety, Second; Quality, Third; Volume. Our goal in
developing safety‐related technology is not only to comply with regulations and standards, and
to strive for good safety ratings, but also to improve consumer safety in the real world. While
concerns have been raised about our electronic throttle control system, this system – used by
all major automakers – actually represents a great safety advancement, enabling superior
traction control and electronic stability control, among other things.
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Because the ETCS controls the engine throttle system, Toyota places the greatest importance
on ensuring that the reliability of this system is absolute by undertaking rigorous design and
testing processes. Three things ensure this absolute reliability. The first is the fail‐safe
mechanisms we build into the design. Second is its tolerance to extreme environmental
conditions. And third is its resistance to software problems.
The fail‐safe systems in Toyota’s ETCS are robust. Our design includes two separate central
processors – a main central processing unit, or “CPU”, and a sub CPU. The two CPUs are both
inside the engine control module and they both get the same throttle‐related inputs in parallel
from the engine sensor network.
The main, or “control” CPU calculates and executes the operating commands for all engine
systems. The sub CPU monitors throttle control inputs, throttle control outputs, and main
CPU processes. A “watch dog signal” passes between the two CPUs many times per second
to confirm that the processors are working correctly. If the two CPUs are not in agreement,
or either the main or sub CPU does not receive the “watch dog signal”, the engine
management system will alert the driver and go into a fail‐safe mode operation.
The ETCS is also designed and tested to make sure it withstands all of the foreseeable
environments in terms of temperature, moisture, vibration, and electromagnetic interference
(EMI). We have testing data that confirms its reliability from all the markets in which we
operate worldwide. On EMI, there is no regulation in the U.S., but we test the ETCS to
withstand double the European regulation for EMI. In none of these cases has the ETCS
In addition, we test the software in this system extensively both in the design phase and after
it is developed to ensure that there is no possibility of “sudden unintended acceleration.”
I want to be absolutely clear: As a result of our extensive testing, we do not believe sudden
unintended acceleration because of a defect in our ETCS has ever happened. However, will
continue to search for any event in which such a failure could occur.
In order to further validate the safety of our ETCS, we have asked Exponent, a world‐class
engineering and scientific consulting firm, to conduct its own independent, comprehensive
We are also addressing the issue of unintended acceleration through new technologies,
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including event data recorders and brake override systems.
In conclusion, our Prius has changed the global auto industry with its environmental
performance. Now, we will strive to continue to be the leader in the area of safety. I will
help drive our team’s efforts to meet this challenge, ensure our drivers’ safety and regain their
trust and confidence.
Thank you.