Software defect prompts automobile safety concerns

Software defect prompts automobile safety concerns

on Oct 26, 12 • by Chris Bubinas • with No Comments

As the kind of buyers who choose to adopt a plug-in hybrid car, Chevrolet Volt owners may be more enthusiastic about the future of automotive technology than most...

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As the kind of buyers who choose to adopt a plug-in hybrid car, Chevrolet Volt owners may be more enthusiastic about the future of automotive technology than most. However, a recently reported coding bug that caused some 2013 models to stall unexpectedly could put a dent in the enthusiasm for increasingly software-reliant cars.

The software problem affected users taking advantage of the car’s delayed charging option and could result in the electric motor shutting down while the car was being driven, the Detroit News reported. At the time of the newspaper’s report, instances of the flaw were limited and no injuries had been documented. General Motors did not issue an official recall, billing the problem instead as a “customer satisfaction issue,” but approximately 4,000 Chevy Volt owners were advised go to their dealer to have a control system update installed.

Autoblog noted that the incident could provide a blow for the momentum of the Chevy Volt, which had seen an uptick in sales in the preceding months. As the use of software in vehicles increases (California recently passed legislation allowing self-driving cars on the road, for instance), these types of coding flaws can lead to consumer fears over automotive software-related injuries.

To keep consumer trust in the security and reliability of their vehicles, automotive manufacturers need to be diligent about preventing software failures (through tactics like MISRA standards compliance and static analysis tool usage) and communicate those efforts to the public.

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