Gov’ment Needs Some Very Special Engineers

Via Instapundit: NHTSA Has No Software Engineers To Analyze Toyota

Not only are they missing software engineers in general, they may be in need of engineers with some very special knowledge. There are potentially two different software components involved in auto electronics. First, obviously, there’s the actual firmware that runs the electronic controllers.

But another possible point of failure exists in the software that tests the electronics. To make things simple, imagine a specialized computer that interfaces with an electronic controller and simulates the inputs coming to the controller from the  vehicle. This computer also measures the responses of the electronics based on these different states. These tests are developed based on a very comprehensive, rigorous, and strict set of requirements and specifications. If the setup for the tests and measurements are documented incorrectly, or if these tests were performed incorrectly or (eek) not at all, there could be a problem.

Now, let’s just say this…

In a former life, I was employed by a company that may or may not have been involved in manufacturing automotive electronics. And I may or may not have worked as one of the software engineers who programmed the testing computers. These test programs may or may not have been written in a programming language that was developed internally by the supplier and not used in any other company or industry. So it would take either specific knowledge to do an audit of this software, or at least a bit of time invested in learning how that language works.

Oh yeah…this company may or may not have been a major electronics supplier to Toyota.

I’m glad there haven’t been any issues with the model years I may or may not have been involved in testing.

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  • aingle

    There may be a way to blame this on a guy who needs Kung Fu lessons….

  • @aingle I’m working on doing just that.