25 February 2010
At any rate, the testimony of Akio Toyodo, and of other high-ranking Toyota execs, was the center ring of yesterday's Congressional circus. This isn't a policy inquiry: more like a public shaming.
I have to say that, in accord with some of the members of the House committee involved, I have some curiosity as to whether this is a software problem. Toyota seems convinced it is a mechanical matter -- sticky gas pedals and so forth. But there is a lot of software involved in cars nowadays, and in particular there is a lot involved in the act of braking a hybrid.
There is (a) the software that does the pumping for you, making for anti-lock brakes, and (b) the software involved in converting the energy exerted in braking into electrical energy, thus re-charging the batteries, and (c) the software involved in the anti-slip. I suspect it is possible that these systems are interacting in some unexpected way in the few cases that have caused all the furor.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.