[Land-speed] [non LSR]Electronics and other stuff like fuel mileage

23weldon 23.weldon at comcast.net
Sun Mar 7 09:32:18 MST 2010

Bravo Giorgio Rizzoni !!  Finally someone who has the stature to be listened
to has raised this issue. (Note that his Ohio State University is the home of
the landspeed streamliner, the Buckeye Bullet.)   I suspected a software
connection to the Toyota acceleration problem from the gitgo.  But I'm just a
tiny ripple in the sea.
I'm not a software guy having been discouraged from this path very early in my
engineering career by some graduate school experiences.  I learned first hand
how quickly the design of even the simplest system can balloon out of
manageable size.  The time was 1971 and the course was Systems Psychology.
What really drove the issue home to me has been the experience in recent years
of Microsoft and their Windows and Internet Explorer software.  They are
arguably the world's best in their field.
What hubris caused Toyota to think they were enough better than Microsoft to
trust their software development skills for the control of machinery whose
failure can kill people?  Such an attitude of trust in the halls of Toyota
management was badly misplaced.
Maybe it is time for the entire auto industry to rethink the way they design
the control systems in modern vehicles toward the direction of manageable
complexity.  If that isn't possible then the industry needs to follow the
policy of redundancy used in the design of similar aircraft control systems
regardless of the development cost.
It's bad enough that vehicles kill people as a result of driver failure.  Such
catastrophic software failure is simply unacceptable.
Ed Weldon
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Joel Wolcott
  To: 23.weldon at comcast.net
  Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2010 5:28 AM
  Subject: Re: [Land-speed] [non LSR]Electronics and other stuff like fuel

  From Washington Post article about Toyota.

  Attention has been focused on mechanical and electronic issues with Toyotas,
but Rizzoni raised another possible cause of the runaway acceleration: a
software glitch.

  He explained that each vehicle contains "layers of computer code that may be
added from one model year to next" that control nearly every system, from
acceleration to braking to stability. Rizzoni said this software is rigorously
tested, but he added: "It is well-known in our community that there is no
scientific, firm way of actually completely verifying and validating

  Giorgio Rizzoni of Ohio State University, an expert in failure analysis and
director of the school's Center for Automotive Research.

  - full article is here.


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