The problem some Toyota drivers have had with unintended acceleration of their vehicles -- a problem we first wrote about last April -- is not caused by any electronic flaws in the cars, a lengthy federal study has determined.
The lengthy federal study could not determine, however, just what was causing the problem.
Federal investigators, including NASA engineers, spent ten months studying the electronic systems of Toyota cars and could find nothing that might have cause the accelerations.
"We enlisted the best and the brightest engineers to study Toyota's electronic systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas," Ray LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation, said in a statement accompanying the study's release.
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Still suspected are floormats that might be pushed down onto the gas pedal, and gas pedals that stick.
Toyota recalled 11 million vehicles when the acceleration problems began to get publicity.
"Toyota welcomes the findings of NASA and NHTSA regarding our Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i) and we appreciate the thoroughness of their review," Steve St. Angelo, Toyota's Chief Quality Officer for North America, said in a written statement. "We believe this rigorous scientific analysis by some of America's foremost engineers should further reinforce confidence in the safety of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. We hope this important study will help put to rest unsupported speculation about Toyota's ETCS-i, which is well-designed and well-tested to ensure that a real world, un-commanded acceleration of the vehicle cannot occur."