An issue with the automaker’s Vehicle Stability Assist system software has led to the recall of nearly 44,000 2012-2013 Honda Fit Sport cars. Vehicle Stability Assist is Honda’s name for electronic stability control, a feature that has been mandated in all light-duty vehicles by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2011. Honda discovered during compliance tests that Fit Sports equipped with certain tires did not meet U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
A total of 43,782 2012-2013 Fit Sports are being recalled, Automotive.com reported. According to an email Honda spokesman Chris Martin sent to the New York Times, the Fit Sport’s stability control was programmed to fit the handling specifications of Bridgestone Turanza tires. However, some models were equipped with Dunlop SP tires, and the system did not react quickly enough to stabilize these cars appropriately. As a result, the yaw rate – the gyroscopic force that can affect the vehicle’s direction – exceeds federal safety standards, the LA Times noted.
Electronic stability control systems draw on sensor data and embedded software to attempt to detect and minimize the loss of control. If the direction the car is moving does not match what the driver is doing with the steering wheel, the system can apply the brake on individual wheels to try to correct the slide. The NHTSA has estimated that once all cars have the feature, as many as 5,300 to 9,600 lives could be saved each year.
Honda is planning to mail out notices to owners, who can have their VSA software updated by Honda dealers. The company has said that there have been no accidents or injuries reported due to the flaw. Nonetheless, such a large recall can serve as a reminder that precision and careful attention to detail is necessary in automotive software to meet coding standards. Using tools such as static analysis software, carmakers can work to harden the embedded software security in their vehicles and mitigate potential errors.
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