Due to a problem arising from the combination of software and system components in model year 2007-2008 Honda Odyssey minivans built August 6, 2006 through September 8, 2008, the auto manufacturer has issued a recall. In total, 344,187 units are potentially affected.
The flaw arises from the combination of Vehicle Safety Assist System components and software in a way that is unique to these models of Odyssey vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a result of the error, the VSA system may cause the vehicle to brake hard unexpectedly, without illuminating the brake lights, thereby creating a risk of a crash from behind.
“If calibration of the yaw rate sensor is prohibited when the vehicle starts moving and then the vehicle is driven in a specific manner, the VSA system can build hydraulic pressure in the braking system,” Honda stated in its recall notification. If this occurs without interruption, the pressure may be released into the brake circuit, causing heavy and unexpected braking without the driver pressing on the brake pedal and without illumination of the brake lamps, increasing the risk of a crash.”
Since the error is tied to faulty sensor hardware, the parts to fix the vehicles affected will not be available until 2014. Owners will be notified of the issue and given instructions on how to mitigate the braking problem. Honda has not received any reports of crashes or injuries resulting from the flaw.
For vendors, the recall represents an important reminder that the way third-party hardware components interact with software is key for automotive safety and that software quality needs to be built in to every step of the manufacturing chain. Using tools such as static analysis software, companies can ensure they comply with MISRA standards and other automotive safety and quality requirements.
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