Benchmarks Suggested For Complex Vehicle Electronic Systems

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As automobiles become more complex, so do the reasons for recalls.  Today’s modern motor vehicle operates by way of a complicated series of processes interwoven together, and if anything goes wrong with the vehicle’s software or a mechanical component, the results can be disastrous.

A new article looks at this phenomenon in greater detail by focusing on the recent recall of Acura MDX and Acura RL sedans and Pilot sport utility vehicles.  Honda issued that recall of more than 250,000 vehicles once it was discovered that they can brake without the driver pressing the pedals.

One Massachusetts driver related her experience with the defect, which is thought to stem from the onboard electronics taking over from the driver and pressing down on the brakes for a substantial period of time without warrant.  Honda believes that the issue is prompted by a loose bolt or wiring oxidation that can inadvertently activate the electronic stability control, which is only supposed to initiate braking to when doing so would assist the driver.

A member of Safety Research & Strategies worries about the fact that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration currently doesn’t have benchmarks in place for such electronic systems.  Right now, standards are voluntary and subject to a 2011 distinction from the International Organization of Standardization.  Automobile producers can elect to put vehicles through a safety assessment meant to turn up threats while design is ongoing, but the SRS representative believes this should be a requirement.