Don't Fear Those Computers Inside Your Car

Software is buggy, but then, so are we
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2010 10:33 AM CST
Don't Fear Those Computers Inside Your Car
In this June 5, 2009, file photo, Toyota workers assemble parts on 2010 Prius hybrid vehicles at Toyota Tsutsumi Plant in Toyota, central Japan.   (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

The latest Prius recall isn’t over a mechanical failure, but a software one. Most cars these days are no longer run mechanically, but by computers loaded up with as much software as the average desktop PC, explains Farhad Manjoo of Slate, and that’s pretty dang terrifying. Software is notoriously buggy, after all—a Windows release is considered ready for release when it has less than 500 known bugs.

But is software any buggier than a human being? We constantly fail behind the wheel, driving drunk, distracted, or just plain recklessly. Computerized cars are already correcting for some of that; some slow down when too close to another car; others correct for swerving. “We are the most dangerous parts of the cars we drive.” argues Manjoo. “Sure, it’s unnerving that a computer is now running my car. But I’m sure glad it’s running yours.” (More Prius recall stories.)

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