Honda recalls 175,000 hybrids

Honda-Vezel-3

Honda recalls 175,000 hybrids in Japan over software glitch

Risk Level: Safety Critical

Background

Honda has recalled 175,000 of its hybrid cars in japan over a software glitch. This is the first time an automobile company has conceded that a software glitch in the electronic control unit could cause the car to accelerate suddenly, forcing drivers to take emergency actions to prevent an accident.

Honda revealed that some hybrid versions of its Fit and Velez subcompacts could suddenly accelerate without warning.

A Honda spokesman in Tokyo told Bloomberg that unintended acceleration incidents have caused property damage, but no injuries or deaths have happen so far. The recall only affected vehicles that were sold in japan.

Anthony Anderson, a UK electrical engineer consultant, told EE Times “To the best of my knowledge, this recall is the first occasion on which any car manufacturer has admitted publicly to a link between a software malfunction and sudden acceleration and issued a recall to fix the software.”

Honda-Vezel-3

Actual Failure

The software glitch was in the electronic control unit of the vehicle and could cause the vehicle to move or accelerate suddenly. Honda said it will be able to fix the software issue, which will take about an hour and a half.

Repercussions

Honda was forced to recall 175,356 of its hybrid vehicles in Japan to fix the software glitch in the engine control unit.

  • Fit hybrid
  • Vezel subcompact SUV hybrid

Anthony Anderson, a UK electrical engineer consultant, told EE Times “To the best of my knowledge, this recall is the first occasion on which any car manufacturer has admitted publicly to a link between a software malfunction and sudden acceleration and issued a recall to fix the software.”

2015-Honda-Fit-rear-front-three-quarter

Analysis

Non-functional testing

We believe this software failure highlights the importance of non-functional testing. If the non- functional attributes were tested in the original testing phase of the car the glitch in the software would have been found and easily fixed. This would have saved Honda the embarrassment of having to recall so many cars and also the greater expense caused in finding the glitch at a later stage.

Usability Testing

We believe this software failure also highlights the importance of usability testing. If the car was fully tested during this phase, the tester would have found the glitch while testing the car on the road. Finding the glitch before the car was on sale to the public would have saved Honda the expense and embarrassment of having to recall the car to fix the glitch.

How to be avoided in the future

We believe one of the main ways to avoid a software glitch in the engine control unit was to fully test all the non-functional attributes in the vehicle. The non- functional testing involves testing the quality attributes of the software rather than the actual specific function of the software. These attributes may be portability, efficiency, reliability, maintainability and usability.  If the engine control unit was fully tested the software glitch would have been discovered sooner.

The software glitch could have also been found during the usability testing of the vehicle. If the tester spend a longer period of time testing the operability of the vehicle the problem with the engine control unit causing the vehicle to accelerate suddenly, would have been found sooner saving Honda money and the embarrassment of having to recall the vehicle when it is already on the market.

References

http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2014/07/10/Honda-recalls-175000-hybrids-in-Japan-over-software-glitch/?style=biz

http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1323061

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-honda-recall-idUKKBN0FF0GP20140710

Images

http://st.motortrend.com/uploads/sites/5/2013/07/2015-Honda-Fit-rear-front-three-quarter.jpg

https://softfailures.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/5e620-honda-vezel-3.jpg

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