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We will award an aggregate of $1,000,000 USD to any Submission(s) that demonstrate a novel and plausible cause of unintended acceleration in a consumer vehicle in accordance with the terms of the Contest.

  1. What do we mean by "unintended acceleration"? For the purposes of the Contest, "unintended acceleration" means application of a vehicle's engine power that results in a sudden, significant increase in vehicle speed that is materially different than that that should have been expected from the vehicle controls then applied. Thus, we do not include acceleration caused by driver error.

  2. What do we mean by "demonstrate"? We are not looking for mere speculation. A winning Submission must include information that demonstrates that unintended acceleration resulted under the conditions specified, as well as a well defined testing protocol which allows us to replicate that acceleration under controlled conditions. You do not have to be able to fix the unintended acceleration, only to demonstrate that unintended acceleration occurs under the conditions you specify.

  3. What do we mean by "novel"? We are not looking for variations on causes that have already been identified before your Submission is received. For the purposes of the Contest, "unknown" means that, in the opinion of the judges, automotive engineers would not have anticipated unexplained acceleration under the conditions specified in your Submission, based on knowledge that is publicly available on the date your Submission is received by us. However, we will not treat as "publicly available" any information that the judges determine became publicly available solely as a result of your or your team's providing such information, on or after March 31, 2010, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you believe this exception is applicable to you, please describe the reasons in the summary of your Submission.

  4. What do we mean by "plausible"? Because we are seeking to galvanize the search for answers that can have an impact on the automotive industry, for the purposes of the Contest, the unintended acceleration must be demonstrated under conditions that, in the opinion of the judges, could reasonably be expected to explain unintended acceleration in the real world.

  5. What do we mean by a "consumer vehicle"? For the purposes of the Contest, a "consumer vehicle" means any 2006-2011 factory stock United States light passenger vehicle (excluding "exotic" nameplates or models). See our definition of "exotics".


Submissions for the Contest may be delivered on or after May 3, 2010. To be considered, Submissions must be received not later than 5:00 pm Pacific Time on December 31, 2010. Winners of the Contest are expected to be announced not later than May 16, 2011.


We want any natural person who is legally an adult in their place of residence (over 18 in most states of the Untied States) to be able to participate in the Contest, but will exclude the following persons:

  • Employees, officers, contractors and agents of (i) Edmunds, its clients and its subsidiaries and affiliates, including any of the judges and advisors; (ii) current automobile manufacturers and dealers; (iii) the United States federal government; and (iv) suppliers of the actual part of the automobile which causes the unintended acceleration described in the Submission.

  • Members of the immediate families (including parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling and spouse) and those living in the same households of any of the persons excluded above.

  • Any person who received any direct or indirect assistance related to the Contest from any of the persons excluded above (other than assistance generally available to the public) in preparing a Submission.

Unfortunately, residents of France, Spain and Poland may not participate in the Contest because of the application of certain laws of those countries. We also cannot allow participation by residents of any country whose participation is prohibited or restricted by law. We also reserve the right to limit, or restrict upon notice, participation in the Contest to any other person at any time for any reason.

You can participate as an individual or a team. One member of any team must be designated as the team leader and will be the sole point of contact for receiving communications from and communicating with us.


Safety first! Safety should always be your most important consideration. You may not use any unsafe practices at any time in participating in the Contest, including in any testing. In particular, in developing a Submission and in conducting any tests relating to that Submission, you may not attempt to recreate sudden acceleration on any public road or street or in any manner that puts the safety of other people at risk. ALL TESTING MUST BE CONDUCTED AT SAFE TESTING FACILITIES AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH ALL APPLICABLE LAWS AND REGULATIONS. You will be required to certify your compliance with the Official Rules in your Submission, and any unsafe practices could result in disqualification and could subject you to civil or criminal liability.

To be eligible to win, you must accurately and truthfully complete a Submission that is received by us not later than 5:00 pm Pacific Time on December 31, 2010. Your Submission must be legible, in English and include the following:

  • To participate in the Contest, you (and each member of your team, if you are part of a team) must individually complete, sign and submit the Release Agreement and Declaration.

  • A Summary of not more than 1,000 words that sets forth (i) the nature of the conditions you believe cause unintended acceleration; (ii) the plausibility of your Submission; (iii) a synopsis of the test protocol that can be used to demonstrate that your Submission causes unintended acceleration; and (iv) a synopsis of the results you got from that test protocol that demonstrated that sudden acceleration did occur. Since Finalists are to be selected based solely on the Summary in their Submission, please make sure that your Summary is clear and covers all relevant issues. Your Submission may be disqualified if it exceeds 1,000 words.

  • A Test Protocol that demonstrates that unintended acceleration occurs under the conditions specified by your Submission. Your Test Protocol must specify the make, model, trim and option packages of an unmodified consumer vehicle, define clearly and precisely the modifications that must be made and the conditions of the test, and be able to demonstrate unintended acceleration using a single stock car over a one day test period under test demands which are judged to be reasonable (although we may expand the test parameters if we chose to do so). Your Test Protocol must also not put any person in an unsafe situation. Your Test Protocol must be sufficiently specific and precise for an automotive engineer to reproduce your results without undue effort, as we are not required to adapt or refine your Test Protocol in any way. Remember, if the Test Protocol as specified in your Submission does not allow us to verify your results, you will not win the Contest!

  • Test results from your Test Protocol which demonstrated that your explanation caused unintended acceleration.

REVIEW YOUR SUBMISSION CAREFULLY AND MAKE SURE IT IS COMPLETE, ACCURATE and TIMELY DELIVERED, and that it will be comprehensible. We will not be able to consider any Submission that is not complete or timely delivered for any reason, and do not undertake any responsibility to advise you of any defects in your Submission, for lost, late, misdirected, illegible, incomplete, damaged or postage due Submissions or for any human error that may occur in the processing of any Submission. All Submissions are final; no changes, modifications, corrections, or substitutions may be made to any Submission without our consent given in our sole discretion.


  1. Selection of Finalists: All complete Submissions received in a timely fashion and in compliance with the terms of the Contest will be evaluated to select Finalists whose Submission appears (based on the information in the Summary) to have demonstrated a novel and plausible cause of unintended acceleration in a consumer vehicle in accordance with terms of the Contest. In selecting the Finalists, we are not required to do anything but review your Summary.

  2. Review of Finalists. The full Submission of each Finalist will be reviewed by a panel of independent judges.

  3. Verification of Potential Winners. The Submission of any Finalist who, in the opinion of the judges, has demonstrated a novel and plausible cause of unintended acceleration in a consumer vehicle in accordance with the terms of the Contest will be subject to verification by us, which may include conducting the Test Protocol set forth in the Submission. Provided that a Potential Winner fully complied with all of the terms and conditions of the Contest, and its test results can be verified, it will be declared a Winner. If there are multiple Potential Winners whose Submissions, in the opinion of the judges, represent the same basic cause, only the first Submission received by us will be considered a Winner. If there are multiple Winners, each demonstrating a different cause, the prize will be divided among each of those Winners on an equal basis. For the names of the Winner(s), expected to be available after May 16, 2011, send a separate stamped self-addressed envelope to: Edmunds Unintended Acceleration Contest, c/o Edmunds Inc., 1620 26th Street, Suite 400 South, Santa Monica, CA 90404.


We are Edmunds Inc., located at 1620 26th Street, Suite 400 South, Santa Monica, CA 90404, and we are sponsoring the Contest. This description of the Contest is intended to give you the key points to begin work on your Submission and will be supplemented by certain Legal Terms and Conditions, which will be posted, together with the necessary forms for Submissions, at www.edmunds.com/contest (collectively, the "Official Rules"). The Contest and its continuing terms and conditions, benefits and participation are offered at our sole discretion. By participating in the Contest, each participant agrees to be bound by the Official Rules and any decision of the judges in all matters relating to the Contest. Any Submission that we determine, in our sole discretion, is incomplete, untimely, abusive, contains false or inaccurate information or otherwise does not comply with the Official Rules may be disqualified and disregarded. All Submissions shall be deemed collected and will be judged in the United States and are subject to all applicable laws and regulations.


To learn more about the Contest, please review the Contest Terms and Conditions.

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