Microsoft Controlled Cars

A

Al Dyer

#1
Make sure your AAA is paid up and your warranty is good, it could be a bumpy ride!!
---------------------------------------------------------

Microsoft pushes Windows for automobiles

Monday March 4, 11:43 AM EST

DETROIT, March 4 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) may dominate the market for desktop computer software, but the company's first salvo at automobile dash-top computing is just reaching North America after more than five years of work.
Microsoft said on Monday that BMW AG's (BMWG) new 7-Series sedan would use Windows CE software to run its in-dash control computer. And Microsoft executives said several other automakers would soon unveil Windows CE-powered systems for future vehicles....

http://money.excite.com/jsp/nw/nwdt...&feed=reu&news_id=reu-n04367384&date=20020304
:ca:
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#4
Someone told me this forum was needed a while back.... Now we get bad news...
 
D

David Mullins

#5
not just cars

There is a very strong push throughout industry for the purchase of "off the shelf" solutions, as it considerably reduces R&D costs and lead times.
Do you think the white house combat defense system runs on an MS NT OS? And is there a back door?

How many "features" can be tolerated in a 747 (was concorde using an MS platform?)

We have automated (robot) defense aircraft controlled via e-mail. Wonder how easy terrorists can slip a virus into that one?

The world just gets scarier.
 
B

Bruce Epstein

#6
safety-critical systems, the final frontier...

I'm no fan of MS, but I am somewhat aware of the real story behind this news item.

From Aug-98 until Dec-00 I worked for one of BMW's suppliers, and in fact we were one of the bidders for the contract mentioned. We didn't win that one, but we continued ahead with our own version of the product for other customers, based on VxWorks (we couldn't imagine putting Windows CE in a car either).

If this is indeed that same system (I admit that I am no longer keeping a close eye on developments in the auto industry), the "in-dash control computer" does NOT interact with any safety-critical systems, but only deals with "infotainment", namely the sound system, the GPS navigation system with real-time traffic updates, "driver information" such as fuel consumption, etc., with options like rear-seat games, video, cell phone, etc. There was even talk about permitting the passengers to surf the net while driving, but I haven't seen that come to fruition. This is all nothing new; hasn't GM been offering On-Star for a few years already?

Personally, I think it will be great, in a backhanded kind of way, to put MS in the spotlight where reliability is concerned. As someone who has dedicated his career to improving software quality, a few well-publicized failures might change consumer perception about what the market will tolerate, and thus raise the standards (and incidently increase demand for people like me :) )
 
B

Bruce Epstein

#7
Re: not just cars

Originally posted by David Mullins
There is a very strong push throughout industry for the purchase of "off the shelf" solutions, as it considerably reduces R&D costs and lead times.
Do you think the white house combat defense system runs on an MS NT OS? And is there a back door?

How many "features" can be tolerated in a 747 (was concorde using an MS platform?)

We have automated (robot) defense aircraft controlled via e-mail. Wonder how easy terrorists can slip a virus into that one?

The world just gets scarier.
Whoa, let's not go overboard. The Aeronautical industry does have its own standards for this kind of development (I know people from both Boeing and Airbus).

Besides, the Concorde failure 2 years ago was due to an unforeseen chain reaction of mechanical events, starting with a stray piece of scrap metal on the runway. Otherwise, it has done remarkably well for 30 year-old technology. See http://www.concordesst.com/ .
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#8
Yeah - That's what I heard about the Concorde accident. Metal fragment on the runway and then Murphy's Law kicked in -- what can go wrong will and in such as way as to do the maximum possible damage.

And most software which controls cars, planes, etc. is embedded software which does not require an OS per se and is written specifically for the hardware. Typically it's called firmware as it's burned into the chip.
 
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