January 16, 2015
Investigations into potential causes of Unintended Acceleration (UA) for Toyota vehicles have made news several times in the past few years. Some blame has been placed on floor mats and sticky throttle pedals. But a jury trial verdict found that defects in Toyota's Electronic Throttle Control System (ETCS) software and safety architecture caused a fatal mishap. This verdict was based in part on a wide variety of computer hardware and software issues. This talk will outline key events in the still-ongoing Toyota UA story and pull together the technical issues that have been discovered by NASA and other experts. The results paint a picture that should inform not only future designers of safety-critical software for automobiles but also all computer-based system designers.
Dr. Philip Koopman is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, where he has worked in the areas of wearable computers, software robustness, embedded networking, dependable embedded computer systems, and autonomous vehicle safety.
Previously, he was a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy, an embedded CPU architect for Harris Semiconductor, and an embedded system researcher at United Technologies. Dr. Koopman has served as a testifying expert witness for automotive unintended acceleration cases, including the 2013 Bookout/Schwarz trial. He is a senior member of IEEE and the ACM and a member of IFIP WG 10.4 on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance. In addition to authoring numerous scholarly publications and the book Better Embedded System Software, he is a named inventor on 26 U.S. patents.