Some researchers are now blaming radioactive cosmic rays for unintended acceleration. Sounds fake? Well, believe it or not, there is some evidence to back it up.
Researchers believe that the some cosmic rays make it to the surface of earth and affect electronics. They think that if electronics are the cause of the unintended acceleration, although Toyota says otherwise, then these rays could be causing the electronic issues.
This issue was discovered during the 1950s at high altitude. Aircraft and spacecraft manufacturers install safeguards against such interference. In the 1970s, more research showed that some rays reach the surface and could affect small electronics, such as cell phones and computers. So maybe it could affect car electronics. However, Toyota says that their electronics “are not the same as typical consumer electronics. The durability, size, susceptibility and specifications of the automotive electronics make them robust against this type of interference.”
The only way to test the theory is placing moving vehicles in front of particle accelerators and spraying them with radiation. There are companies out there which can do this, but Toyota will have to lend them the cars, and also hand them quite a big wad of cash for the test. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not they’re willing to do so.