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Case Study of Toyota Unintended Acceleration and Software Safety

November 2014 Article
Philip Koopman (Carnegie Mellon University)

In this TSP Symposium 2014 keynote presentation, CMU's Philip Koopman outlines key events and technical issues in the Toyota Unintended Acceleration story.


Carnegie Mellon University


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 software and safety architecture caused a fatal mishap. This verdict was based in part on a wide variety of computer hardware and software issues. In this TSP Symposium 2014 keynote presentation, Philip Koopman outlines key events in the still-ongoing Toyota UA story and pulls 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.

Download this presentation.