Friday, February 5, 2010

Cars and quality

We all have some sense of quality when it comes to the auto. Progress has given us safety glass, air bags, crash worthiness concepts, and a whole lot more. What about the growing inclusion of systems which deal with sensors, networks, chips, AND software (hacked out or what?).

Turns out that recent events (or, to put it another way, revelations of the reality that been slipped under our collective noses) point to the necessity of what truth engineering has been trying to define, discuss, and deal with.

We could say that it's probably not a bad thing that Toyota is the focal point. For one, cars have become increasingly dependent upon what could be characterized as 'drive-by-wire' systems. But, a lot of this was put into place under the covers. Who knew, for instance, that the accelerator on some cars is a phony, being essentially a switch that is supposed to feel like the real thing?

As mentioned in many posts here, we have essentially taken our success at layering our abstractions on computers (just look at the computational marvels everywhere - too bad that it's led to zombies texting their inanity across precious virtual space) and let that success breed hubris (ah, how many projects brought down by the lowly computer?).

Guess what? The same thing happened to our finances where we let the (supposed, we're going to be picking on Harvard in this regard - as they, too, need to step up to a leadership position here) best and brightest, and the scoundrels (Made-off), run amok using their, supposedly advanced mathematics and software.

It's time to step back and reconsider, folks. Remember this: there is no easy answer, no silver bullet, or quick fix.

But, the situation is not un-resolvable if we proceed using quasi-empiricism.

That is one of the points here.


01/22/2013 -- USA Today story on settlements. From three years ago, lest we forget.

02/26/2011 -- Another go.

02/08/2011 -- There was a report today concerning a study on the SUA problem that has been going on quietly. More news will be coming later when the report is technically analyzed.

09/28/2010 -- It nice to see the IEEE weigh in. Notice: sensors galore, drive in the loop, ...

03/12/2010 -- Toyota's web site that is related to recalls.

03/09/2010 -- Can of worms is what we've gotten from letting the genie out of the bottle.

02/10/2010 -- We could probably use the auto (and recent events) as a way to characterize the concepts of the blog. Of course, we have the value versus quality mis-think as part of the problem. Business Week reports that Toyota was asking suppliers for a 10% cut. Well, such scrimping would have an effect, even if it was only in looks. However, cutting into the life of a system may appear smart but, actually, relies on the same unstable basis as does a lot of economic thinking.

02/09/2010 -- We need to retrain the driving brain. Where is there an auto user group?

Modified: 01/22/2013