Wozniak cites 'scary' Prius acceleration problem

More problems may be lurking for Toyota, if comments made by Apple's co-founder about his 2010 Prius are any indication.

During a talk at Discovery Forum 2010 in San Francisco Monday, Apple founder Steve Wozniak goes off topic about a "very scary" problem with his 2010 Toyota Prius. James Martin/CNET

More problems may be lurking for Toyota. Speaking at an event in San Francisco on Monday , Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak waxed eloquent about a "very scary" problem with his 2010 Toyota Prius.

Wozniak was speaking at Discovery Forum 2010 when he went off topic for a few minutes and spoke about problems with his 2010 Toyota Prius.

"I don't get upset and teed off at things in life, except computers that don't work right," was his segue into the Toyota comments. Then he said he had been trying to get through to Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) for three months but could not get anyone to explore an alleged software-related acceleration problem--as described below.

Wozniak in conversation Monday at Discovery Forum 2010 with journalist Dana King. He was speaking to the importance of hands-on learning and encouraging creativity to prepare children for the challenges of the 21st century. James Martin/CNET

"Toyota has this accelerator problem we've all heard about," Wozniak said. "Well, I have many models of Prius that got recalled, but I have a new model that didn't get recalled. This new model has an accelerator that goes wild, but only under certain conditions of cruise control. And I can repeat it over and over and over again--safely."

"This is software. It's not a bad accelerator pedal. It's very scary, but luckily for me, I can hit the brakes," he said.

Toyota said it investigates all complaints. "We're in the business of investigating complaints, assessing problems and finding remedies," said John Hanson, national manager environmental safety and quality communications at Toyota. "After many years of exhaustive testing, we have not found any evidence of an electronic [software] problem that would have led to unwanted acceleration."

CNET's James Martin contributed to this report.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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