Nasa to join US in Toyota probe

The US government's initiative to examine the reason behind the sudden acceleration problems in Toyota cars has new partners - Nasa and the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists from the space agency will assist the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in determining potential electronic links to unintended acceleration in Toyotas.

Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said a comprehensive review can be ensured with the help of Nasa's knowledge of electronics, computer hardware and software and hazard analysis.

"We believe their outside expertise, fresh eyes and fresh research perhaps can tell us if electronics have played a role in these accelerations," Mr LaHood said.

Separately, researchers from the National Academy of Sciences will study unnecessary acceleration and electronic vehicle controls in cars across the automobile industry.

The academy study, set to last 15 months, is expected to come up with recommendations to the government on how it can ensure the safety of vehicle electronic control systems.

Car giant Toyota has had to recall over eight million vehicles across the globe, including six million in the US alone.

Copyright © Press Association 2010