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Edmunds.com offers $1-million prize for Toyota fix - L.A.Times

The auto information and pricing company is launching a public competition to find a solution to the carmaker's unintended-acceleration problem.

By Nathan Olivarez-Giles
March 3, 2010
Solve the unintended acceleration problem, win a million dollars.

Edmunds.com, the auto information and pricing company, is launching a public competition to find the cause of and solution to the problem that has allegedly caused dozens of auto accident deaths and devastated the reputation of Toyota Motor Corp.

You don't have to be an auto mechanic to enter.

"If there is only one person who can re-create unintended acceleration in a car and then solve that problem and prove the whole thing to us, then they'll get $1 million," Edmunds Chief Executive Jeremy Anwyl said.

Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles to fix sudden-acceleration problems, but Edmunds spokesman Chintan Talati said that Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, left doubts in his appearance before a congressional panel that the company had fully resolved the issue.

"He said himself that he's not 100% certain that this is the only fix or the only problem," Talati said. "So we don't know the problem is really fixed, and that's what this contest is about."

Anwyl denied the prize was a publicity stunt.

"We're not looking to keep any information or technology ourselves," he said. "Anything discovered in the competition will be open and out there, and hopefully this all works, because it could save lives."

Details of the competition, which will begin next month, are still being worked out.

"There might be one answer; there might be many answers," Anwyl said. "But if there are three people who can do it, then the money will be split three ways.

"We can't give everyone a million dollars."



Edmunds Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Edmunds.com Announces Million Dollar Prize for Unintended Acceleration Research
Contact:

Jeannine Fallon/Chintan Talati
Corporate Communications
www.Edmunds.com
Media Hotline: 310-309-4900
[email protected]

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — March 2, 2010 — Hearings related to the Toyota recall are now over, but they haven't added much clarity about the cause of unintended acceleration. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, announced today that its company representatives are developing a plan to award one million dollars to researchers who address yet unanswered questions about unintended acceleration.

As Edmunds.com has previously disclosed, every car company has received complaints from consumers relating to vehicles that suffered unintended acceleration. This problem has been festering for more than 20 years when Audi fell prey to notorious headlines about the subject. Personal anecdotes about unintended acceleration occur throughout Edmunds' CarSpace forums, the most established automotive community online. The discussion entitled "Toyota Sienna Uncontrolled Acceleration" at http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f105086/0 was started by a site visitor in November 2006.

"We have heard compelling testimony from consumers. Many incidents are not fully addressed by recalls. NHTSA is responding to the challenge with more of what they have already done: additional investigations. Isn't it time to try a different approach? We at Edmunds.com think so," commented Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl.

Edmunds.com is currently drafting rules for a new prize, attempting to attract the best thinkers in the world to apply themselves to determine what is really causing sudden unexpected acceleration in vehicles.

"'Open source' created a forum for great programmers to contribute in building great software. Let's see if this kind of 'crowd sourcing' can work in the pressing area of automotive safety," proposed Anwyl.

Edmunds.com challenges participants to demonstrate in a controlled environment a repeatable factor that will cause an unmodified new vehicle to accelerate suddenly and unexpectedly.

"Consumers need to feel confident that the vehicles that they drive are as safe as possible," Anwyl stated. "We look forward to seeing the safety contributions that this effort generates."
 

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sounds like a tempting offer I'm sure there will be plenty of takers for that with 1 million involved
 
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