The cause of Toyota accidents may be ... space radiation

    As you know, the world's largest car manufacturers are now under the gun of criticism: in America alone, more than 100 people died due to glitches in the Toyota electronic control system . The true reasons have not yet been established, but different versions are being put forward why electronics can cause such malfunctions.



    Perhaps the most original version was put forward by the director of development from the American Institute for Space and Defense Electronics of Vanderbilt Lloyd W. Massengill.

    He argues that when using electronic circuits, there is a chance that random extraneous cosmic particles can get into the circuit and change the values ​​of some bits.

    As you know, spurious electromagnetic radiation comes from many devices (for example, mobile phones, microwave ovens), but the power of this radiation can in no way be enough to change the bit values ​​in the circuits of microcircuits. At such a capable only much more powerful particles such as neutrons with lead components of the chip body (refers to radioactive isotopes of lead ) or even the flow of protons from the sun .

    The problem of solar radiation is well known to space engineers who are engaged in the construction of electronic control systems for satellites and other spacecraft, where radiation greatly affects the performance of devices.



    The earth is well protected with a magnetic field, at least before this protection was enough.

    The effect should most likely be manifested precisely in Toyota cars, since the most technologically advanced manufacturer supplies the latest models of their cars with the maximum number of ultra-small electronic components (large-size microcircuits of the old generation are simply better protected from cosmic radiation because of their geometry).

    Massengill is not alone in his opinion. The article published in the scientific journal Live Science, in which its version is supported by other specialists. They say that automotive electronics can be subjected to special tests for irradiation with protons and neutrons, as is done with electronic components for spacecraft. Only if the modules pass this test and do not fail, then you can use them in critical systems, for example, in circuits with gas pedal sensors in a car. So far, none of the automakers are checking the electronics using such methods.

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