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NASA, Science Academy to Probe Unintended Acceleration

March 31, 2010

WASHINGTON - NASA and the National Academy of Sciences are joining the U.S. government's efforts to investigate the root causes of the unintended acceleration issues that have prompted Toyota's major vehicle recalls. 

The National Academy of Sciences -- an independent body using scientific experts -- will examine the broad subject of unintended acceleration and electronic vehicle controls across the entire automotive industry. Separately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is the Department of Transportation's auto safety agency, has enlisted NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer-controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to investigate the issue of unintended vehicle acceleration in Toyotas. 

"We are determined to get to the bottom of unintended acceleration," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "For the safety of the American driving public, we must do everything possible to understand what is happening. And that is why we are tapping the best minds around." 

LaHood has also asked the U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general to review whether NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigation has the necessary resources and systems to identify and address safety defects as it moves forward. 

In a released statement, Toyota said it was "confident in our vehicles and in our electronics" and would cooperate with the review efforts. 

"These studies are just the kind of science-based examination we have been calling for," Toyota said. "Bringing some sunshine to this subject is bound to separate fact from fiction, which is good for Toyota, the industry and the motoring public."


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