back to article Sixty-five THOUSAND Range Rovers recalled over DOOR software glitch

Jaguar Land Rover is recalling no less than 65,000 of its SUVs due to a software problem that caused the cars' doors to unlock themselves - potentially while in motion. The issue, which potentially creates a heightened theft-by-hijack risk, affects Range Rover and Range Rover Sport vehicles sold in the UK over the last two …

  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Experts?

    "Experts predict problems of this type will become more commonplace as cars rely more and more heavily on digital technology"

    You really don't need to be an 'expert' to predict that!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Experts?

      Not to worry, Adobe will issue a patch ASAP.

      Oops, wrong thread, or was it?

    2. lambda_beta
      Linux

      Re: Experts?

      You mean the same "experts" that design this crap?

  2. Yugguy

    As I've commented previously

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2015/07/08/ford_car_software_recall_analysis/

    The more of this I read, the less I want a modern car.

    Too much concentration on the shiny and not enough on keeping basic functions simple and robust.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: As I've commented previously

      I can understand a car engine not stopping immediately when the key is removed, but I cannot understand why such a vehicle would lack a non-defeatable stop switch. I cannot think of any piece of remotely heavy machinery that does not have a big red STOP button on it (isn't it a legal requirement?)

      Of course, you have to guard against accidental presses (I do recall an account of a noob, leaving a datacentre with a co-worker and being asked to 'get the lights' pressing the STOP switch!) but nevertheless ...

      BTW, quick shout-out to all the old fogeys who remember what a BRS reset is ... or a Molly guard!

      1. Nolveys Silver badge
        Go

        Re: As I've commented previously

        a big red STOP button...you have to guard against accidental presses

        There are times when you definitely don't want a guard on the big red stop button.

        I used to work at a company that manufactured mining equipment. Think big, four-wheeled tractors covered with 1/4" plate with oddball equipment attached to them. At this company there was a worker there who was famous for doing things like falling through ceilings, almost electrocuting himself, impaling random things with forklifts, etc.

        One day he decided that he needed to move one of the mining machines. He started it up, immediately lost control of it and had it speeding on a collision course with one of the bay doors. Luckily he thought to hit the Big Red Button, you know, the Big Red Button that causes an explosion of fire retardant. And through the door it went.

        That was a good day.

      2. Bob Wheeler
        Happy

        Re: As I've commented previously

        Going into BRS mode.....

      3. batfink

        Re: As I've commented previously

        Back in the day, I used to be able to pull the key out of my old Holden with the engine still running - for example, if I wanted to go and get something out of the boot (which of course you needed the key to open) So, this doesn't seem strange to me. It was the position of the switch, not the presence/absence of the key, which was the controlling factor.

        1. PNGuinn
          Go

          Re: As I've commented previously

          Ah, yes - worn key and lock syndrome.

          Began to happen to me on my old Austin 1100. Mind you, the 3 cwt of keys on the ring(s) attached to the car key probably didn't help much.

          Did something about it (new key - not many pence cost) when the whole kaboodle fell out of the ignition driving through Barking one day.

          Simple problem - simple solution.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As I've commented previously

          According to the Darwin Awards at least one light aircraft pilot has been killed by taking off with the wind lock in place and then being unable to get the key off the ring with the ignition switch on it.

          Security features and safety features do not always work well under all circumstances.

          (At one time I had an old British motorcycle which continued running after the ignition was turned off, but I then decarbonised the cylinder head and it stopped doing it after that.)

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As I've commented previously

        "a big red STOP button...you have to guard against accidental presses"

        Yes, but how do you guard against Father Dougal?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As I've commented previously

        Yup, so have I.

        Not to pull the most painful card out of the box, but has it ever dawned on people how stupidly simple it now is for playing kids to drive away with a car and get themselves in serious danger? You just have to be near the car and the engine start button will work :(.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As I've commented previously

          ... but has it ever dawned on people how stupidly simple it now is for playing kids to drive away with a car and get themselves in serious danger?

          You seem to have mistaken shit parenting for shit software - not that there's any real difference, it's always someone else's fault, right?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: As I've commented previously

            You seem to have mistaken shit parenting for shit software - not that there's any real difference, it's always someone else's fault, right?

            You don't appear to have kids, unless you're outsourcing the job.

            Kids like to play, and a good parent encourages that but ensures it's as safe as possible. I have no issue with them occasionally involving the car in their play (although that may have to do more with the fact that I'm washing it and it becomes a sport to challenge me to get them soaked), because I have one which needs a key so all the dangerous stuff is impossible, and I have yet to forget the key in the car in 30+ years of driving.

            With a keyless car you may accidentally have the keyfob in your pocket as it will be on the same ring as your house keys, and some of these things work from quite a distance. I don't like them. I prefer to have control over what close to 2 tonnes worth of steel does in my name.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As I've commented previously

          Then that is a retarted key less system. With my key less car (Subaru forester) the fob/key needs to be inside the car, you can hold it 1 cm outside the car door window and it will not start, move it in and it will. You step outside of the car while the engine is running, close the door the car beeps at you telling you there are no more keys in the car and if its going to be driven off they could be in trouble as they cant start it again.

      6. annodomini2

        Re: As I've commented previously

        The big red button is there for 2 reasons:

        1. Liability indemnity, puts the responsibility on the operator.

        2. Cost, due to 1, less safety required in the control system.

        Recent changes to the safety regulations have rendered this redundant.

        In a car there is a bigger risk of someone you don't want pressing the button at an inappropriate time e.g. escaped 5yo from their car seat, idiot teenagers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As I've commented previously

          Big red buttons are still required for some equipment, and are hardwired stops in many cases. Seen why first hand when the newly installed PLC's were considered so good all hardwired and analog controls were removed.

          Nothing quite like the look on an operators face when they lose monitoring and control of a 100,000hp machine and the red button does nothing.

          1. Ole Juul Silver badge

            Re: As I've commented previously

            Nothing quite like the look on an operators face when they lose monitoring and control of a 100,000hp machine and the red button does nothing.

            Don't want to be too pedantic, but what kind of machine has 100,000hp? The Komatsu D575A is billed as the world's biggest bulldozer (24' bucket) and it only has 1,150 horsepower. The world's biggest machine, Bagger 288 doesn't even come close to 100,000 hp - though it probably has more than one red button.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: As I've commented previously

              "Don't want to be too pedantic, but what kind of machine has 100,000hp"

              The Warsila-Sulser 14 cylinder design marine Diesel engine. Does a supertanker have an emergency stop button? You'd need to be very brave to push it.

              MAN have a design which in the largest possible size would rate 100 MW. Now that's an engine; and it's a two stroke.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: supertanker

                " Does a supertanker have an emergency stop button? You'd need to be very brave to push it."

                And somewhat prescient, given that if it's the boat's motion (rather than some other engine effect) you want to stop, it'll take a quarter of an hour or so between gearbox to neutral and boat stopping. (Some of these words may not be quite the right ones, but I think the principle is sound).

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: supertanker

                  "it'll take a quarter of an hour or so between gearbox to neutral and boat stopping."

                  Supertankers don't have gearboxes; the engines are direct drive to the prop. Gears don't like what happens when the prop gets whacked by a heavy sea, and electrical drive (which has an airgap) costs more to operate due to lower efficiency. These very large engines are running at over 50% thermal efficiency and there is constant pressure on the makers to do better.

                  You crash stop one of these things by reversing the engine, and it the takes around 15 minutes. Just stopping the engine, even with the prop drag, would still have it continuing for 15 miles or more. The old idea of steam giving way to sail isn't exactly practical.

                  My comment was that, given the operating cost of a large container ship or tanker, which is enormous, stopping the engine as part of an unplanned manoueuvre would actually require balls of steel. The engine management system should be monitoring every parameter of every cylinder continuously so a sudden problem is unlikely.

                  1. Vic

                    Re: supertanker

                    These very large engines are running at over 50% thermal efficiency

                    Got a source for that? Because it would require TH of roughly 600K to achieve, and that doesn't feel right...

                    Vic.

            2. boltar Silver badge

              Re: As I've commented previously

              "but what kind of machine has 100,000hp?"

              Grid electrical generators spring to mind.

    2. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: As I've commented previously

      Still running a 1987 Reliant here. The doors are manual. I open them. I close them. It's a very elegant engineering solution.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: As I've commented previously

        "Still running a 1987 Reliant here. The doors are manual. I open them. I close them. It's a very elegant engineering solution."

        I suspect however that thats the point at which the word "elegant" and anything built by Reliant part company.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: As I've commented previously

          "I suspect however that thats the point at which the word "elegant" and anything built by Reliant part company."

          Even the Scimitar?

          1. Yugguy

            Re: As I've commented previously

            Gorgeous car. That and the Jensen Interceptor are my ideal car shapes.

            1. Pookietoo

              Re: Gorgeous car

              I'm quite fond of the GT6.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As I've commented previously

        You don't need security for a Reliant as anyone unwise enough to steal one would have a hard time getting away with it, if they could see through the tears of laughter. Newer cars need the security.

        I expect the Range Rover software is based on Windows. The poor car probably tried to download a critical Flash update or a vital fax driver or some other nonsense, and is now stuck trying to pump blue screen bytes down a diagnostic port.

      3. Vic

        Re: As I've commented previously

        The doors are manual. I open them. I close them. It's a very elegant engineering solution.

        I used to have an old Renault - can't remember which model.

        THe central locking was about the only things that actually worked on the car - even though you could easily reach both doors from the driver's seat...

        Vic.

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: As I've commented previously

      Too much concentration on the shiny and not enough on keeping basic functions simple and robust.

      Agreed. I used to chuckle at people that couldn't fathom what the ECU did, or that under all the sensors was an engine that worked just the same as when it was fed by a brace of carbs and fired by rotor arm and dizzy cap. Suck, squeeze, bang, blow.... Its still the route to happiness.

      But now, things have gotten silly. The list of parts that need coding in at a stealership is horrendous. If I stripped the loom out of an equivalent model car, I could probably drive mine 0-100-0 inside the length of the loom.

      Fixing a non-starting car used to be as simple as check for the spark, if its there, check for fuel. One or the other would be missing, or if both were present you had usually a carb issue. While I'm quite happy to plug my car into my laptop and interpret sensor logs and fault codes, I actually do most of my fault diagnosis on Google.... which just seems wrong to me.

      I can't imagine why much of the tech is present or why its doing a better job than its replacement. Fueling and firing I get, but what does the gearbox need its own ECU for, and why does the airbag need its own ECU? Why is fitting towbar electrics so difficult and what advantage is it bringing? Why does the steering need to be fly by wire? Or the brakes? I love technology. I love cars. But I don't see why they have to be endlessly blended together for little tangible benefit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As I've commented previously

        "I love technology. I love cars. But I don't see why they have to be endlessly blended together for little tangible benefit."

        I would argue about the little tangible benefit. There are other factors as well but when I started driving nearly 8000 people a year were killed on the roads. Now it's under 2000. This despite the fact that car ownership has been democratised to the point that the average driver is far less intelligent than was the average 1960s driver.

        Car electronics may not pass the Turing test, but compensate very well for the maladroit.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: As I've commented previously

          I would argue about the little tangible benefit. There are other factors as well but when I started driving nearly 8000 people a year were killed on the roads. Now it's under 2000. This despite the fact that car ownership has been democratised to the point that the average driver is far less intelligent than was the average 1960s driver.

          I quite agree that these improvements have happened and are wonderful. I disagree that they are due to in car technology. Mostly it is chassis design, mandatory seat belt use, motorcycle helmets, crumple zones, air bags (a sensor sure, but a whole ECU??), and body shape (throws peds into the air rather than running them over).

          There's a long list of in car tech that just doesn't do anything useful (safety, performance, or emissions for the green). Fly by wire steering hasn't helped those. Fuel injectors coded to the specific ECU? Heated seats? Heated mirrors? Electric mirrors? Rain sensing wipers. Auto dimming rear view mirror. DRLs. Reversing sensor. Keys that aren't, well, keys. Auto parking..... there's so much extraneous and unneccessary guff in cars these days, I'm not surprised there's so many recalls and faults.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: ECUs and Injectors

            I have come across ECUs having the injectors coded to it, as there were a range of tolerances and these were used to improve fueling

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: As I've commented previously (Lucrelout)

        Gearboxes are better with an ECU, compare a modern controlled torque converter box with a 1960s or 70s version.

        Often VERY similar boxes, but computer control enables learning, alternate shift patterns, different maps for different engines.

    4. Fungus Bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: As I've commented previously

      "The more of this I read, the less I want a modern car."

      The electric sliding door on the Chevy Venture van actually had a reset procedure because the wee little lizard brain in the alarm circuit could get confused and trigger the alarm even if the door was properly shut.

      We've had doors figured out for how long? Thousands of years? Open-shut-open-shut-open-shut-open-shut, no problem And Chevy comes along and fucks it all up.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Love this...

    "It’s positive to see automotive firms taking the proper steps to address evolving criminal threats."

    What wait a few years until it gets so hard to insure them, that people probably stop buying them THEN do something about it?

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Love this...

      <quote>What wait a few years until it gets so hard to insure them, that people probably stop buying them THEN do something about it?</quote>

      Where I live, there is a prominent legal firm whose TV advertising points out the need to have the vehicles involved in a serious crash inspected by automotive experts.

      With "things" like ignition switches that fail, brakes the don't work due to software glitches, and cruise controls that do not disengage; they want to impress potential clients that """accidents""" are not often such a straight forward issue of solely driver negligence.

  4. djstardust Silver badge

    Ahem ....

    What about the thousands that were nicked as this problem has been known about for quite some time. how are they going to recall them?

  5. wolfetone Silver badge

    A friend of mine works for Land Rover building these cars/SUV's. He said he'd never buy one because he's seen first hand how they're built. You can't get a better stamp of approval than that in my book.

    Zim zimmer, who's seen the keys to my Honda?

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      I think that's fairly standard across most makes though.

      Over the years I've had similar discussions with mechanics who have services my company cars (VW, Vauxhall Peugeot and Ford) and they've all said the same thing. And if you look at the cars those mechanics drive, it's very rarely the make that they are employed to work on...

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        I think that's fairly standard across most makes though.

        Yup.

        This would be an opportune moment to relate a story told to me by a good friend who used to work for a particular Japanese car manufacturer in Swindon (won't name them to spare their blushes, but they're a source of Civic pride).

        Seems they had a car-park full of newly-built cars awaiting transport to the docks, and a metal water-tower that towered (heh) over the area.

        Contractors were hired to re-paint the water tower, and were expressly warned not to do so if there was any breeze. They ignored that warning.

        Cue my friend and several colleagues spending hours in the car-park with a handful of microfiber cloths and cans of solvent, cleaning beeellions of tiny Hammerite splatters off all those shiny new cars...

        Still, he said it was good money while it lasted.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Oddly my brother, an ex-army vehicle mechanic, said the same when he found a post on the Evoque assembly line.

    3. Cpt Blue Bear

      Meh, the fact that every time we go four wheel driving with someone in a Disco we end up towing the broken Landy is enough for me. Last one did the transfer case climbing out of a creek bed.

      At least they don't catch fire like Jeeps.

  6. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

    That's a fundamental hardware conceptual design flaw.

    Obviously the up-and-down dock lock button thingy on some cars is now just a separate human interface device that apparently is controlled by dodgy software. As opposed to being hardware link by a rod.

    Conceptual design fail.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

      On the first car I had with central locking, pressing the 'lock' button resulted in whirring and clunks as various motors did their stuff. My wife's new Peugeot just makes a tiny 'click'. I still end up trying the handles, I just can't accept that something as supposedly secure as locking both doors can be done without something solid and mechanical moving.

      1. Shades

        Re: "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

        I'm guessing that your wife's new Peugeot may use a similar system to my car*, which uses hydraulics to engage the locks. That too makes absolutely no discernible noise other than, in my case, a reassuring 'clunk' rather than a 'click'.

        * Not a Peugeot, but I received a myriad of childish downvotes just for mentioning the car I choose to drive. Not making that mistake again.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

          "a reassuring 'clunk' rather than a 'click'."

          ...as a certain dead ex-DJ used to say. Shame he never got caught clunking while alive.

          1. Shades
            WTF?

            Re: "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

            As that is not what a certain dead ex-DJ used to say I find the raising of that particular subject at this juncture to be a bit odd. Unless you were trying to be funny in which case you failed. Hard. Every time you hear the word "Kangaroo" do you awkwardly bring up a certain Australian TV host?

            1. Vic

              Re: "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

              As that is not what a certain dead ex-DJ used to say

              Errr - do you not remember the "Clunk Click Every Trip" advertising from the '70s? That was him...

              Vic.

              1. Shades

                Re: "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

                I'm very well aware of who the person in the advert was and what the actual phrase was. What 'John Brown (no body)' did was to quote something I said, which wasn't the actual phrase and the only similarity was two words, then appended some nonsense as if it was the actual phrase and went on about the f*cking kiddy-fiddler.

                It was a massively tenuous link to begin with and so why he felt it necessary to bring up that sick f*ck when we were on about central locking on bloody cars is a mystery?

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

      "As opposed to being hardware link by a rod.

      Conceptual design fail."

      That would be the rod you slid a hook onto and yanked up to gain access?

      Remove the rose tinted glasses, yes the software security is crap, but WAY better than the old days when you could open a car with a house key, tennis ball or just a good hard smack.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

        Laf: on jimmying doors

        I guess just leaving the door open when it appears to be locked * is better in your opinion? Saves having to carry around burglary tools. Just open the door.

        (* As per article.)

        1. Bill B

          Re: "...doors can remain unlatched even when in the 'closed' position..."

          The articles (and some commentators) all seem to use the words 'unlatched' and 'unlocked' interchangeably, and they are NOT the same thing. An unlocked door is still safe until it becomes unlatched, at which point it can be opened.

          I'm guessing that the fault is that the door can become unlatched and swing open when going round a corner, but I wouldn't put it past some someone to have confused unlatched and unlocked and reported on the more newsworthy fault.

  7. Andy Non
    FAIL

    Why?

    Why all this fancy software in cars? Call me old-fashioned but I don't see the need for keyless cars running a ton of dodgy software. Give me a car that is solid, reliable and uses ordinary mechanical key systems any day. The more bells and whistles that are added to cars the more technical problems ensue.

    One car I owned had some fancy computer controlled windscreen wipers with variable speed, automatic rain detection and such crap; it was fine until it started going on the blink then the wipers movement became so random they sometimes shot right off the windscreen and attacked cyclists.

    1. Shades

      Re: Why?

      Conveniently, for the manufacturer, the more "convenience", in the form of computer controlled everything, built into a car the more complex they become. The more complex they become the less likelihood of the "average" person attempting to fix vehicles themselves and therefore more, extortionate, visits to the dealership.

      Just wait until the manufacturers program in remote disabling should you miss a service, or do anything not to their liking (like change a "coded" part), and you have to arrange for one of their representatives to come and collect it, put it into a "service" mode for it to be driven to a dealers for them to "rectify"... at your expense.

    2. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      <quote>The more bells and whistles that are added to cars the more technical problems ensue.</quote>

      How else do you insure added dealer profits???? (when the shitty thing breaks after the warranty period.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How else do you insure added dealer profits????

        It starts before then, at the factory (and in the boardroom).

        Once almost everything is computer controlled, the manufacturing cost of a car with "premium" features is potentially unrelated to the price you sell it for. Charge £2000 extra for an option package that has no extra manufacturing cost, just different firmware. What could be better?

        1. Shades

          Re: How else do you insure added dealer profits????

          "just different firmware"

          Half the time it doesn't need different firmware, just different flags setting when the car is connected to the dealers computer. Why do you think car manufacturers are pushing for it to be made illegal to modify ANYTHING to do with any electronic system on a car? It sure as sh*t ain't nothing to do with safety like they claim, its so they don't have to go to the trouble of producing different firmware and so they can continue to charge exorbitant amounts of money for options which in reality only take the press of a couple of keys to enable.

          I wasn't joking, a few replies above, about manufacturers implementing remote disabling either... just you wait and see!

    3. VinceH Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Why?

      "One car I owned had some fancy computer controlled windscreen wipers with variable speed, automatic rain detection and such crap; it was fine until it started going on the blink then the wipers movement became so random they sometimes shot right off the windscreen and attacked cyclists."

      I like that version of Skynet.

  8. Boris Winkle

    2000 TD5 Defender

    People often laugh when they find it hasn't got central locking, and it has windy or is it windey? windows (non electric).

    I'm all for technology and love it, but not when it becomes impractical.

    You can't beat a bit of oldskool ;)

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: 2000 TD5 Defender

      But you have the important ECU for the engine, and that is it.

      Anyway who cares about the windows and the like when you have a fun engine under the bonnet.

      For the people who do not understand here goes.

      Apart from ECUs failing (buy a spare coded to your injectors) only a crank sensor can stop the engine.

      Yes the engine looms may seep oil (keep a spare injector loom) sometimes the injector seals leak, (keep spares). But there is not much to stop his Land Rover. And it has a modern engine with excellent performance.

      Oh and I paid as much for my late Discovery 2 as some people paid for Discovery 3s. My car is easier to work on and has less electronic gumpf to go wrong and I still have at least 5 ECUs!

  9. Nelbert Noggins

    "Experts predict problems of this type will become more commonplace as cars rely more and more heavily on digital technology" and the automotive industry continues not to see the value in securing and testing the digital systems rigorously enough.

    God help us when the generation of 'Fail hard' programmers who believe deploy first, fix later are writing the software for car systems. "It passed the unit tests so we released it", "It did what? Oh we didn't have a test for that bit of code or situation"

  10. Chris Evans

    Maybe they need this sort of control:

    "Every time I press one of these black controls, labelled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up black to let me know I've done it. "

    1. Jean Le PHARMACIEN
      Coat

      Re: Maybe they need this sort of control:

      Good old Douglas Adams, got there long, long ago (not sure if that's also 'far, far away')

      Still could be worse, you could have Marvin as your in-car assistant! 'Here I am; brain the size of a planet...' etc etc. He has got form with transport - parking vehicles at the Restaurant At The End Of The Universe.

      I'll be very worried when my car starts complaining about a terrible pain in all the diodes down it's left side. Then again, perhaps they've already started

    2. TRT Silver badge

      The doors on a LandRover...

      You know when the door's about to open because of the intolerable air of smugness it suddenly generates.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Experts predict problems of this type will become more commonplace...

    Until they are required to have the whole system certified, as is done for avionics.

    Price rise? Well...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Experts predict problems of this type will become more commonplace...

      "required to have the whole system certified, as is done for avionics."

      You don't think it might just go the other way?

      Chief of Fly By Wire: "None of these millions of computerised cars are built to DO178/DO254/etc, can't we do it on the cheap as well now that the precedent's been set?"

      Chief of beancounting: "Let me look into it."

      30 seconds later

      Chief of beancounting: "The board have reviewed your proposal and you can start tomorrow, by getting rid of all those expensive Ada programmers and those software testers that don't actually produce anything and keep finding things they call 'bugs' which mean we're always late and over budget."

  12. hplasm Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Door software...

    See icon.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The good news is that once the door software is fixed

    In addition to improving car security, the doors will go "Oooohhhh," when opened, and "Ahhhhhhh," when closed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The good news is that once the door software is fixed

      The doors on my carl only open when you pull the handles, and the locks open when you press the unlock buttons (or master button)

      Keyless start? my 1948 Landrover 80" had no key and a small red "START" button on the dash, and a big red "STOP" button that overshadowed it

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: The good news is that once the door software is fixed

      It is a pleasure to open for you and a satisfaction to close again with the knowledge that in a few moments we will be asserting our rightful lordliness over the plebs below.

  14. Graham Hawkins

    Hopefully it will take a while to fix...

    ...Fewer of the ostentatious hulks blocking the roads can only be a good thing.

  15. Jim 59

    Send the bill to Hotblack Desaito

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd have said it was probably unfair to blame an estate agents for problems with someone's car, but then I remembered they were estate agents and probably deserved it anyway...

  16. dotdavid

    Car software

    It's quite pervasive now but the support structures required for software are just not in place.

    My Audi A3's engine (fortunately very rarely) used to cut out a couple of times (like it had stalled) while driving; unfortunately it did this invariably on motorways which was pretty dangerous.

    Once we worked out it wasn't our stupid fault we took it to the dealer who repaired the problem by updating some engine management software. Haven't had the problem since.

    I work in software, I know it can have bugs. What I don't understand however is why software updates aren't a standard part of the car service process if the software is so important now. Or better still, let me download and apply it myself.

    1. Shades

      Re: Car software

      "What I don't understand however is..."

      Try putting your money-grabbing-b*stard-with-no-morals hat on for a moment and think about it. You'll understand eventually.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: Car software

      "I work in software, I know it can have bugs. What I don't understand however is why software updates aren't a standard part of the car service process if the software is so important now"

      Maybe you need a CHEAPER car:

      Standard Service:

      "Check for any updates recommended by Hyundai and perform these free of charge."

      1. dotdavid

        Re: Car software

        @Lost - haha maybe, although I never did work out how to use those flashy yellow side lights you get on other cars so I don't know.

        On a more serious note I bet even Hyundai don't have the updates available for you (or a third party garage) to download yourself.

      2. Shades

        Re: Car software

        "Standard Service:

        "Check for any updates recommended by Hyundai and perform these free of charge."

        Well thats not really free, you're already paying for the service. Try seeing if they would update the software for "free" if they weren't doing a service and, especially, once the car is out of warranty (unless there was a product recall of course).

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Car software

          "Well thats not really free, you're already paying for the service. Try seeing if they would update the software for "free" if they weren't doing a service and, especially, once the car is out of warranty (unless there was a product recall of course)."

          A decent dealer probably would do it. They also check that if the car is in for any reason, not just as part of a service.

          What annoys me is when an update changes things for none safety issues. My company car had an update at the last service that has changed the operation of the (fly by wire) accelerator. It used to be "normal" but only gave top end revs if you pushed a bit harder through a "stop". Since the last service, the high end revs "stop" is gone, but there is much less effect on the first inch of operation of the pedal. I'm guessing it's a "green" measure to help increase the average MPG. I find it a PITA and now I sometimes end up with higher than expected revs on pulling away. I'm not lead-footed and unless in a hurry drive very economically anyway, but even after a month I still get surprised sometimes at those moments when I want a sightly quicker pull away and there a lag on the accelerator.

          For context, a 1000 miles per week is not unusual. I have a "feel" for the car. When I get a hire car for a day or two it takes barely 30 minutes or so driving before I feel comfortable in it. But this new accelerator behavior is still not feeling "right" to me.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Car software

      My Audi A3's engine (fortunately very rarely) used to cut out a couple of times (like it had stalled) while driving; unfortunately it did this invariably on motorways which was pretty dangerous.

      You don't need a computer for that, I used to have a Yamaha RD400 which was tuned an inch from being embarrassing (a horn or a bell was not needed, as the racket of a 2 stroke with redesigned exhausts was quite enough warning :) ). It suddenly developed a habit of cutting out with some sort of electricity failure, which gets rather embarrassing if you're coming out of London on the M40 as the bridge part has no real space for emergency stops. Classic intermittent problem as well: after a couple of minutes it would sometimes just start again as if nothing had happened.

      As I was getting married the bike had to go anyway (let's say that that was non-optional), but as irony would have it I finally discovered the source of the problem on the day it was sold: a cracked insulating washer inside the generator.

      No software in sight on that thing.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Car software

        > I used to have a Yamaha RD400

        Yes, I had an RZ-350 (other side of pond) and it was quite loud too, especially one day when an exhaust can popped off.

        Anyway, one night I was going down the road when all my lights went out - headlight, tail light, brake lights, marker lights, etc - and I had to dodge a Camaro that didn't see me.

        The next day I started going through all the connectors in the headlight shell (remember bikes that HAD all the connectors in the headlight shell?) and opened up one particularly large green cubical one which had quite a bit of water pour out of it. Oops.

        A friend was riding his 1100 Sabre, which was a big V-4. The interesting thing is it had two "ignitors" (Honda-speak for CDI box) - each one controlling two cylinders. Lightning struck a light pole as he went past, and the bike started stumbling, but he was able to get home. Turned out the strike fried just one of the CDI boxes.

      2. Cpt Blue Bear

        Re: Car software

        "I used to have a Yamaha RD400 which was tuned an inch from being embarrassing"

        I miss my RD. Fast, noisy and thoroughly obnoxious when it ran. Infuriating and heart breaking when it didn't, which was about 1 day a week plus Thursdays when there was an R in the month. I chased electrical gremlins around that bike for the whole time I had it. Earthing? Yamaha had heard of it.

        In the end it had to go because The Girlfriend hated the pillion seat and having to take a shower after every trip to get rid of the smell of burnt two stroke. I sold it to a mate for whom it performed faultlessly until the engine seized one night on a wet roundabout and dumped his brother in the gutter breaking his forearm. Treacherous bastard things, two strokes...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Car software

      What I don't understand however is why software updates aren't a standard part of the car service process if the software is so important now. Or better still, let me download and apply it myself.

      I must check on this, but I though important updates ARE part of the Audi service process, and it would surprise me if that was different by other manufacturer. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. A recall is used in case an update is too important to wait for service windows.

      1. dotdavid

        Re: Car software

        "I must check on this, but I though important updates ARE part of the Audi service process"

        You could be right; it might be the dealership's omission (the car was serviced a couple of months before) or perhaps the patch was only a month old or something.

    5. Bluto Nash

      Re: Car software

      Hear, hear! Took the missus' LR2 to the dealer for an intermittent failure to start. Couldn't duplicate the problem, but after I poked around the Goog, found that it needed three software updates - including one for the body controller.

      Meanwhile, back down memory lane, I recall with fondness my '74 Datsun Z that you could see the ground under the front simply by opening the hood and looking past the engine - nearly all the way around - and could be started with a screwdriver if necessary.

      Sometimes you simply can't improve on simple.

      1. gerdesj Silver badge

        Re: Car software

        "Meanwhile, back down memory lane, I recall with fondness my '74 Datsun Z that you could see the ground under the front simply by opening the hood and looking past the engine - nearly all the way around"

        I had a Mark 1 Fiesta (Popular Plus no less) off of the late 80's. You could see the ground from the driver's seat, just under the firewall (possibly a forerunner to TMG.) Salty rain in coastal Devon had a bit of an effect on un-galvanized cars. Actually it could have been galvanized but who'd know by the fetching paper doily effects in the bodywork.

  17. Cuddles Silver badge

    "creates a heightened theft-by-hijack risk"

    So the risk is increased from 0% to something maybe approaching 0.0000001% if we're being generous. Having your doors locked while driving somewhere like Johannesburg might be an important safety feature, but in the UK? When's the last time anyone actually got pulled out of a moving car and hijacked? Note that the report specifically says this new flaw has nothing to do with the the issues making it easy to steal cars with keyless entry, it's a separate problem that doesn't actually appear to be a problem at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: "creates a heightened theft-by-hijack risk"

      "When's the last time anyone actually got pulled out of a moving car and hijacked"

      Slightly old:

      https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/86799/response/214264/attach/html/3/Car%20jacking%20data%20by%20PFA%2007%2010.xls.html

      But a few thousand a year.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "creates a heightened theft-by-hijack risk"

      When's the last time anyone actually got pulled out of a moving car and hijacked?

      Carjacking isn't really a mainstream event unless you're in UHNW circles, but groups of thieves making off with handbags, wallets and mobile phones by opening your car door when you're waiting for a red light have been observed in quite a few major cities.

      The downside of that is the challenge it poses in emergencies - emergency services have to shatter windows to release door locks :(.

      Some newer cars have auto-locking enabled by default.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "creates a heightened theft-by-hijack risk"

        "The downside of that is the challenge it poses in emergencies - emergency services have to shatter windows to release door locks :(."

        Can't quote a reference but I'm pretty sure that the current approach is for the central locking to go to "unlocked" if an accident is detected. Accident may mean "if the fuel cutoff accelerometer is activated" or may mean airbags activated or may have some other definition.

        All of which presumably rely on software.

        I used to carry a glasshammer in the car. Haven't seen it for a while. Must find or replace it.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: "creates a heightened theft-by-hijack risk"

      Err "The flaw means that doors can remain unlatched even when in the “closed” position so that they can open while the car is in motion,"

      I read that as meaning the doors aren't just unlocked but that they can be opened by touching them - like what kids do when they go to look out of the window or fall asleep...

  18. Captain TickTock
    Joke

    Head of Jaguar Land Rover was unavailable for comment...

    Following the budget he's spending a year dead for tax reasons..

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What next on the safety front?

    Automatic deployment of autopilot with rampant rabbit?

    http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Woman-driver-smashes-van-pleasuring-sex-toy/story-26890895-detail/story.html

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally I find it comforting to know that the renowned reliability of the auto industry is being further enhanced by that of the IT industry.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too much tech in todays cars.

    It's been downhill ever since they added automatic ignition advance!

  22. choleric
    Trollface

    BT Security

    So BT Security [innocent face] have decided to have a go at the digital security, or otherwise, of vehicles produced by the automotive industry.

    I would be interested to see the results of Caterpillar wielding their latest and greatest against some of those roadside green cabinets or some cable landing stations or some dishes on the Goonhilly Downs. "It's nice to see that BT have chosen to use steel cabinets, it's a shame they weren't a bit thicker ... by a factor of 100. Those were some nice poured concrete foundations ... until our bulldozer got there. That was some nicely laid cable in the ground there ... before we yanked it out like a piece of spaghetti. Etc."

  23. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Range Rover Clown Car

    So there's a software "feature" in the Range Rover that opens the doors while you drive along. Is there another that makes the wheels fall off?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Range Rover Clown Car

      So there's a software "feature" in the Range Rover that opens the doors while you drive along. Is there another that makes the wheels fall off?

      No, that's Lada, and AFAIK they are no longer made :).

    2. Captain TickTock
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Range Rover Clown Car

      They should have a little vase on the dash with a plastic flower, like the VW Beetle.

      But unlike the Beetle, it should squirt water at the driver randomly.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised

    A 'friend' of mine worked in the diagnostic team at JLR. JLR and Bosch did a lot of key and keyless go testing, including external consultants attempting to break into the soon to be released new Range Rover, Sport and F-Type. Whilst the consultant could eventually break in using remote technology, the cars were bricked as he had to basically force relevant ECUs to clear all their volatile settings so the cars would no longer start, or would only start on limp-home mode. Therefore I'm surprised that this problem was not detected before now, unless JLR has been waiting for a diagnostic tool upgrade from Bosch to be released to dealers before admitting the problem.

    Anon for obvious reasons.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Surprised

      >Therefore I'm surprised that this problem was not detected before now

      I think from your comment the reason could be something as simple as they didn't consider this scenario because it didn't fit with their testing viewpoint,namely security against attempted break-in.

  25. hatti
    Windows

    It's a design feature

    For cab drivers taking fares who are drunk and holding a kebab as it saves the need to press the eject button when the customer becomes abusive.

  26. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    HAL

    "I've just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit. It's going to go 100% failure in 72 hours."

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Upvoted

    Because passenger ejector seats should totally be an option on new cars.

  28. Any mouse Cow turd

    honestly...

    I can't believe that I'm reading all these Luddite comments on El Reg.

    For a demographic who spend a lot of their lives working with micro controllers and embedded systems I'm surprised you yearn for simpler cars with less features and systems. Do you also wish to go back to working on 8088 chipsets, VAX clusters or DEC alphas? Maybe you prefer the solid sound of punch cards being fed into the reader rather than the silent SSD in these new fangled computers.

    I for one am glad of the embedded micro controllers that monitors my wheel rotation and slip in order to provide ABS and stability control. or the system that reads the impulses from the range of mems accelerometers and figures out which airbags to fire and when within a few microseconds. The myriad of all the other systems that use ECUs all give a much better environment within the car to make things easier and safer for us all, from parking radar to automatic climate control.

    Come on guys, look at the whole picture.

    1. Yugguy

      Re: honestly...

      And like I said on the other thread, I'm not against automoblie computerisation per se. But on a car I want it simple and I want it CLOSED.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: honestly...

      "Do you also wish to go back to working on VAX clusters or DEC alphas? "

      Absolutely not. Why would any IT crowd person want to return to the era where stuff was so reliable it was fit and forget, and didn't need an army of help desk jockeys and didn't need monthly (or better) patching sessions and where the viruses could usually be counted on the fingers of one foot.

      It wasn't even shiny.

      "Come on guys, look at the whole picture."

      Absolutely. The IT should serve the whole organisation. IT is not an end in itself.

      "a much better environment within the car to make things easier and safer for us all, from parking radar to automatic climate control."

      Those two examples are not safety critical, they've barely got any risk associated with them.

      Stuff routinely on the market now varies from security related (engine start, door/boot locking) to safety critical (accelerator, braking, engine stop, gearbox control, etc).

      Wake up.

  29. Yugguy

    Door software?

    Door? Software?

    DOOR Software??

    Door SOFTWARE???

    It's the future, I've tasted it.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...and then there's the "phoning home" component in the software.....

    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned various "phoning home" components.

    What do we know about the remote access features? The help desk knows where the vehicle is located (GPS), knows who's in the vehicle (you told them on the phone), knows what your problem is (you told them on the phone)...........

    ...........and then locks all the doors and switches off the engine by remote control.

    ...........and that's BEFORE the software bugs kick in.

    Welcome to the twenty-first century.

  31. Old Handle

    Call me a Luddite, but I'm glad my car still uses conventional hardware-based doors.

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