When Software Crashes Can be Lethal – Bug in Toyota Prius Software Causes Highway Stalling
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It’s bad enough to get the oft joked about blue screen of death on your computer, or even your ATM, but your car’s computer system is not the place you want to see a software bug – particularly when it has the potential to lead to a real crash, as does the problem just discovered with the late-model Toyota Prius.

The software problem affects Toyota Priuses sold in 2004 and early 2005, and causes an affected Prius to either stall or completely shut down when traveling at highway speed. In other words, there you are, zipping along the highway (to the extent that a Prius can zip), when – whammy! – your car just stops working.


Oops.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, an official from Toyota explained that “the stalling problem is due to a software glitch in its sophisticated computer system.”

That’s some glitch. How sophisticated can that system be if it allows the Prius to completely stall or shut down on the highway? Wouldn’t you think that there’d be some fail-safe mechanism?

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According to Toyota, the “programming error” affected 23,900 Priuses, and Toyota sent out a service notice advising affected Prius owners to bring their Prius in to the shop for an “upgrade” which would take about an hour.
There is no news on how many affected Prius owners have actually had their Prius “upgraded”. Aunty certainly hopes that it’s at least nearly all of them, as a car stalled on the highway isn’t just a danger to those inside the stalled car.

So, if you or someone you know has a 2004 or 2005 Prius, please call your local Prius dealer and find out whether your Prius needs to be upgraded. Remember, friends don’t let friends drive buggy software.

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4 thoughts on “When Software Crashes Can be Lethal – Bug in Toyota Prius Software Causes Highway Stalling
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  1. As to the Comment by John Dynan — 5/19/2005 @ 7:59 am …John my Prius I just bought less than a month ago TOTALLY stopped functioning as I was driving…..battery quit running it and the whole dash board lit up with warnings. So here is one person !

  2. “there you are, zipping along the highway (to the extent that a Prius can zip)” The author of this quote must never have driven a Prius (some other hybrid, maybe, but not a Prius) – mine does indeed zip!

    I’ve put many a friend and relative behind the wheel for a spin and all are wowed by it’s performance and comment on how much fun it is to drive. Then I put them in the passenger seat and they are wowed and entertained by all the features of the computer.

    Isn’t it a shame that American car makers put their efforts into blocking fuel economy legislation instead of mustering the creative genius of the American people to protect our environment and begin to free ourselves from dependence on a non-renewable resource?! Much more to say on that topic; no more time to say it.

  3. “there you are, zipping along the highway (to the extent that a Prius can zip)” The author of this quote must never have driven a Prius (some other hybrid, maybe, but not a Prius) – mine does indeed zip!

    I’ve put many a friend and relative behind the wheel for a spin and all are wowed by it’s performance and comment on how much fun it is to drive. Then I put them in the passenger seat and they are wowed and entertained by all the features of the computer.

    Isn’t it a shame that American car makers put their efforts into blocking fuel economy legislation instead of mustering the creative genius of the American people to protect our environment and begin to free ourselves from dependence on a non-renewable resource?! Much more to say on that topic; no more time to say it.

  4. Just to put people minds at ease there were 2 campaigns for these issues. I don’t know of any vehicles that “stopped” running but they could have had reduced performance issues. These were issued in 1/04 and 5/04 so providing the customers got the mail or visited any Toyota dealer the conditions should have been corrected. I don’t know how this got blown out of porporotion but the news media is so agressive anything is “news”.

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