Automobile electronics -- doesn't it appear that there's too much?
Toyota/Lexus has problems with electronics causing uncontrolled acceleration and delay in brake activation. I'll bet they and other manufacturers have or will have similar problems, just not yet widely publicized.
Electronics and software are NOT reliable, as you can observe with your desktop. And that is in mild environments, not the harsh environments automobile electronics are subject to.
Every glitch in your home computer, if a similar one in a car, could cause a crash. Your programs can be backed up. Your car isn't.
Yes, mechanical and hydraulic systems can fail, but they repair easy
Cars use a different type of software/hardware combination called a RTOS (real time operating system). They are known as "critial systems" and operate entirely different than desktop computers. These systems have dedicated instructions and are also fail-safe. Some vehicles have systems on board that are arguably more powerful than what you find in some commercial aircraft. Electronics and Software may not be reliable, but the "software" used in these applications are embedded in the microcontroller through programmable gate arrays - Read more: http://hubpages.com/hub/Embedded-Comput … -computing
The problems Toyota/Lexus are having is classed as mechanical. The computer systems aren't the failing component but the sensors that are connected to it. The original system designed was intended to be universal, unfortunately while designing other vehicles they miscalculated what sensors to use.
RTOS's fail regularly, often it is the main controller that goes down, not just the sensors. A fine example is the early VW golfs which crashed their system with great regularity. I also disagree about the faults in the electronics on Toyotas.
Toyota had to pull NASA in to attempt to find the fault. Not something you would need to do if the problem was just in the sensors.
As far as I know they still have not found the problem.
In short, the factors involved are so complex that it could take another 2 years to fix Toyota's problems.
Mercedes Benz will probably be the next big scandal. The failures they experience with reading all the connected fuel mixture controllers should have already seen them recalled. I had one recently that MB's $60,000 engine annalyser could not locate. Standard procedure for many repairers is to just keep replacing sensors and other components until they find it, often at a cost of thousands of dollars, especially on the Kompressor models.
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