Software development for automobiles is a definitely a safety critical area. This became crirical with drvice by wire. I had a 2002 car that had an electronic engine management system, for example. This was before "full" drive by wire. When the EMS started to go, I was on my way home on the Interstate. I could still drive the car, however. It just ran rough.
With full drive by wire, we should be using methods and techniques used for avionics and other safety critical systems. This is becoming the case, but we will have a large overhang of vehicles, such as the Toyotas, that do not meet these standards. Considering that any programming is amortized over a large number of units, adding this safety critical approach should not be costly.
The dynamometer testing was for the purpose of demonstrating that the failsafes did not prevent loss of throttle control, TJ. I don't know if any simulation was run in court. Barr's testimony essentially said this: Skid marks weren't compatible with pedal misapplication; there was no "sticky pedal" recall for this model year; there was no pedal entrapment; and the car had been inspected a dozen times for mechanical problems, such as throttle blockages. Given those facts, along with the fact that dyno testing showed "gaps" in the failsafes, it was more likely than not that a software malfuntion caused the throttle problem.
Doesn't that seem contradictory? Never mind, I'm assuredly not a legal expert.
15 months, 2000 hours, and an 800 page report. If I was footing the bill, I'd ask for a simulation showing how these discovered safety holes would manifest into loss of throttle control. Having the simulation run in court, explaining each condition that leads up to loss of throttle control, would seem to be a slam-dunk for the plaintiff.
If they made the change a jury could have seen this as demonstrating culpability, suggesting that the change was made because Toyota was aware of a system flaw. Unfortunately, not fixing known flaws is a common theme because of litigation fears.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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