Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘NAS’

Increased Fuel Economy Will Cost You Dearly

Significant fuel savings are possible with new, available technologies, but the prices are steep - up to $9,000 a vehicle.

by on Jun.14, 2010

The new GM Global Battery Systems Lab is used by more than 1,000 engineers working on electric vehicles and advanced batteries.

Technologies available right now could significantly reduce fuel consumption in passenger cars, and light trucks without compromising performance or safety, or so claims a new report by the National Research Council.

The problem is that technologies endorsed would also increase vehicle costs for buyers by as much as nine thousand dollars.

“Reducing the amount of fuel we use is an important goal for the nation and for the individual consumer,” said Trevor O. Jones, chair of the committee that wrote the report and chair and CEO of ElectroSonics Medical Inc., Cleveland. “These technologies – whether adopted individually or in combination – offer the potential to meet that objective. Consumers will need to consider the trade-offs between higher vehicle prices and saving fuel and money at the gas pump.”


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsored this latest study. The Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.   (more…)

National Academy of Sciences and NASA to Study Unintended Acceleration Issues for DOT

Secretary LaHood launches two “major” investigations on a relatively rare but troublesome and controversial safety issue.

by on Mar.30, 2010

What on earth is going on with those Toyotas?

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced two investigations designed to answer questions surrounding the issue of unintended vehicle acceleration.

LaHood also asked the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General to assess whether the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation conducted an “adequate review” of complaints of alleged unintended acceleration reported to NHTSA from 2002 to the present.

The ongoing controversy of the problem in Toyota and other vehicles have led to numerous charges from critics that NHTSA is underfunded and improperly staffed to deal with safety matters. It appears particularly weak in the area of electronic controls and systems, as automakers continue to expand rapidly their use in all vehicles.

There are also charges that former NHTSA employees working for Toyota  prevented thorough investigations and delayed safety recalls.

The independent National Academy of Sciences will examine the subject of unintended acceleration and electronic vehicle controls across the entire automotive industry. A panel of experts will review industry and government efforts to identify possible sources of unintended acceleration, including electronic vehicle controls, human error, mechanical failure and interference with accelerator systems. The study is expected to take 15 months. See The Case for “Black Box” Electronic Data Recorders

NAS experts will look at software, computer hardware design, electromagnetic compatibility and electromagnetic interference. The panel will make recommendations to NHTSA on how its rulemaking, research and defect investigation activities may help ensure the safety of electronic control systems in motor vehicles.

NASA Specifically on Toyota Issues


Separately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT’s vehicle safety agency, has enlisted NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to help tackle the issue of unintended vehicle acceleration in Toyotas.   At least 52 deaths are allegedly the result of  the well-publicized problems and an ongoing series of recalls for Lexus and Toyota models. (more…)