Michael Barr, an embedded software expert, talks about the perils of poorly designed software.
Michael Barr hates driving. He said that self-driving cars are the sort of progress he looks forward to. But he quickly adds, with a nervous laugh: "They also make me nervous."
Barr, an embedded software expert and co-founder and CTO of the Barr Group, led the team of engineers who found the software defects that are blamed for incidents of sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) in Toyota cars.
Automotive safety -- and embedded software safety -- is near and dear to Barr's heart.
Barr advises designers of safety-critical systems to not assume that testing can reliably prove absence of bugs or gaps in fail-safes. Conventional testing has proven undependable in spotting low-probability problems, "random events in the electronics, bugs latent in the software and unforeseen gaps through fail-safes."
System safety can't be an afterthought, Barr insists. It must be designed from the very beginning into a system.
Further, he says that "more sunshine" is needed for "informed oversight" and "code confidentiality."
Below is EE Times' interview with Barr. We caught up with him right after his keynote speech.