Click here to reboot your vehicle

Mikey 3 comments
Click here to reboot your vehicle

With various forms of software finding its way into everyday modern appliances, it would seem a good time to start taking the issue of bugs and security more seriously.

CNN are reporting that some Toyota hybrid vehicles are stalling or shutting down at freeway speeds due to a software problem. Anyone with a reasonably modern car will know when you have a stall you lose power steering and braking response. If this happened while travelling at 100kmh down the Freeway you might not know until it was too late.

A Toyota spokesman said their engineers had identified software faults in 23,900 Toyota Prius vehicles last year, advising owners to bring them in for a software upgrade. No fatalities or accidents have been reported.

Software bugs are common but they should never be the cause of concern for the life of an individual. When part of your vehicles service regime requires the services of a Software Engineer you have to stop and think about where all this is leading.

Case in point: Our car was brand new when we bought it about 7 months ago and it has already been serviced because of a software issue. Our particular software problem had been with the button that locks all the car doors; it sometimes failed to lock the rear passenger door. While this is not an issue just yet as our daughter is still too young to be anywhere else other than strapped into the dedicated baby seat, it is cause for concern. When she is old enough to use a regular seatbelt I need to know that pressing the 'lock doors' button will prevent her from unlocking the door and opening it while moving at high velocity. I also like the idea of preventing strangers from trying to get into the car.

Cars are not the only concern. Other devices which we have become reliant upon are also functioning thanks to clever software. Mobile phones, PDA's, and even wrist watches not only rely on software to function but also have network connectivity. Any security expert will tell you the first constant of secure networking states 'the moment you are connected, you are already vulnerable'.

Consider software can be exploited, even remotely through a network. Worrying about the reliability of your mobile phone is rarely an issue. But the thought of what might happen if malicious code is transmitted onto your phone makes you think, especially as more and more devices are designed with the ability to transmit and receive files through the airwaves.

The day when your car requires anti-virus or firewall software may be a reality. Car? Yes, Toyota already have a hybrid vehicle (the Toyota Personal Mobility (PM) Concept) which communicates wirelessly with others of the same model. Consumers beware. Hackers will take note.
Not a Member!


Thursday 19th May 2005 | 12:26 AM

if there are bugs in the system then get the pea bea out and spray em!!!! or drive what i drive a 20 plus year van no computer to tell it what to do, manual window operation, manual door lock closure ,you look under the bonnet and see what makes it run.( plugs, carby etc ) And it does get you from A to B like the modern every day cars. All the new technology that can cause more headaches to do what cars of yesteryear have done for ages. Has much changed over the years? I would say not really. Apart from better fuel economy and comforts we still have to get in the vehicle and drive it. I guess it will not be long before the on board computer will be recieving the message updates are available.You may still drive while they are being updated and then restart your car before they can take effect!

Not a Member!


Thursday 19th May 2005 | 08:46 AM

Yes imagine that. Driving along and you get the message: "Toyota has finished updating your vehicle software. You must reboot for changes to take effect. Reboot now? Right inidicator=YES or left indicator="NO" :-)

Not a Member!


Thursday 19th May 2005 | 09:11 PM

HaHa, that would be the day - updating the firmware in cars :) Though i doubt this wouldn't happen for awhile.

Add a comment

Login to Rusty Lime

Not registered? | Forgot your Password? Cancel Login