As I talk to more people, it's clear that it's not just Toyota who is having problems with software. One industry expert told me last week in Japan, "Every carmarker is sharing the similar pain and is of as quilty."
Yesterday there were articles on a large recall of 2007-2008 Honda Odysseys due to a defect in the active stability control, which would cause the system to slam on the brakes as the car was driving along, without activating the brake lights! The underlying problem is supposedly in a yaw sensor, but obviously the software cannot deal with a faulty sensor. This is the second such recall. Honda claims there have been no injuries, so we don't have the expert analysis to determine what is wrong with their software that it cannot handle sensor problems.
You're right. Bugs in a car bought for a lot of money are frustrating and annoying! Why can't they make massive production goods without failing? Car parts are easy to buy, but human parts are something totally different!
f@Plurph - You would be surprized at how many items come up during flight testing on an Aircraft -- or even on one system on an aircraft -- System level simulation still has a long way to go -- then there are items like SEU in CPU's MCU's and FPGA's that often are left for the FAA to analyze after certification!
Hardware (mechanical, electrical, and electronic) and software for aerospace/aviation/medical devices are a whole different ballgame than that for general industry and business much less personal use. The FAA and FDA have reams of criteria that must be met regarding possible failure modes and required results. As pointed out in the Airbus example and more recently Boeing's battery problems major items can still slip through but all in all, as should be that is very very rare..
What does bother me is that it sounds like there are NO gov standards for all the drive by wire systems showing up. Throttle/transmission/ignition 'key' being computer driven is bad enough but now several high-end vechicles also sport full drive-by-wire steering as well. Scary....
As a side note, those reqs are why personal electronics were so restricted on flights until recently - it was (and still is) impossible to test the possible interactions between avionics and all the different makes & models of toys people bring on board. So, just easier to ban them until sufficient body of anicdodal evidence could be gathered saying '99.999999999% sure should be no problem'.
My ABS in my GM has a bug in it -- it does not function correctly going around a sharp corner -- and the ABS failed in my Honda going down hill in an ice storm -- Fortunately I was able to minimize the impact with the cars stopped at a red light at the bottom by downshifting. Go to a performance driving school and learn the limits of your car before you hit the road with it if possible -- Even these mass produced items are only engineered to do well on a specific set of Federal/SAE tests and testing on a lower quantity vehicle may not be complete -- And yes in splite of the failures, once you learn the limitations, the electronics generally helps and makes things a bit better. Also had the misfortune of sliding down an anti-freeze soaked hill in the rain into the back of a truck with an older honda
Blog Make a Frequency Plan Tom Burke 17 comments When designing a printed circuit board, you should develop a frequency plan, something that can be easily overlooked. A frequency plan should be one of your first steps ...