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Jaguar Recalls 18,000 Cars Over Major Software Fault

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the get-your-tatas-in-working-order dept.

Businesses 356

DMandPenfold writes with this excerpt from ComputerWorld UK "Jaguar has recalled nearly 18,000 X-type cars after it discovered a major software fault, which meant drivers might not be able to turn off cruise control. The problem lies with engine management control software developed in-house by Jaguar. The problematic software is only installed on diesel engine X-Types, which were all produced between 2006 and 2010. Some 17,678 vehicles have been recalled, as a result of the potentially dangerous problem. If the fault occurs, cruise control can only be disabled by turning of the ignition while driving — which would mean a loss of some control and in many cars also disables power steering. Braking or pressing the cancel button will not work. 'Jaguar has identified that should an error with certain interfacing systems be detected the cruise control system will be disabled and an error message displayed to the driver on the instrument cluster,' the company said in a statement."

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356 comments

My car has a fail-safe device... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831116)

... to disconnect the engine from the drive wheels.

It's called a clutch. You should have one on your car.

In addition to the safety issue, a clutch is cheaper, lighter, more reliable, has better performance & fuel economy and gives you more control over your vehicle.

Next time you buy a car, ask for one with a clutch.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (2, Interesting)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 2 years ago | (#37831186)

That third pedal is getting harder and harder to find these days. On anything, at least in the US. I think I can count on one hand the number of friends that I have that currently own a car with an actual clutch that's not a computer controlled dual clutch setup.

Also, with the improvements made in the dual clutch setups and slushbox efficiency, the maintenance and skill demand of that third pedal is waning quickly. There will always be purists who search it out, but we'll be paying a premium for it.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831242)

It's still the other way around in a substantial part of the rest of the planet. In Europe for example, it's only by special request that you get an automatic. By default all cars I've seen on a dealer lot in every country in Europe I've been to are manual shift. Some automatics are available, but they are certainly not common. I see the same when I am in Africa... almost all cars/trucks are manual shift.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#37831484)

"Back in the Day," Automatics were an option on American cars, too. Nowadays, we pay a premium for the old-fashioned gearbox, which I (as a gearhead) find particularly odd and disturbing...

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 2 years ago | (#37831822)

Nowadays, we pay a premium for the old-fashioned gearbox, which I (as a gearhead) find particularly odd and disturbing...

Why "odd"? If I make 100,000 cars of a model type. 85,000 regular automaticss. 10,000 luxury automatics, with pseudo-manual "Tiptronic". 3,000 sports models, also with pseudo-manual. And 2,000 conventional manuals. Why would you expect a system developed solely for a 2,000-car range to be cheaper than one developed for a 70,000-car range?

I suspect, eventually, it will be cheaper to put a drive-by-wire pretend clutch-pedal connected to that pseudo-manual automatic, rather than develop a real manual gearbox and clutch for the handful of people who insist on a third pedal.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 2 years ago | (#37832010)

"Clutch by wire" won't happen or already is, depending on how you look at it. I predict that all of these options will be replaced by a CVT or a dual clutch setup at some point on most mainstream vehicles. A computer controlled dual clutch setup gives most of the sporting aspects that those with sporting aspirations wish for, but can be computer controlled for those who wish an automatic.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#37832012)

if you except a drive by wire*(excluding good old steel cable) clutch - then you are not one of the people looking for the third pedal

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#37832026)

Nowadays, we pay a premium for the old-fashioned gearbox, which I (as a gearhead) find particularly odd and disturbing...

Why "odd"?

For starters... 'cause I'm old skool, dammit!

Seriously, though, I fully comprehend the economic theory that increasing production of a certain product decreases costs, but automatic transmissions are far more complex than standard gearboxes, and thus cost more to manufacture regardless of output rates.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 2 years ago | (#37831662)

Not if you're buying a Lamborghini:

http://usa.indiandrives.com/lamborghini-to-discontinue-use-of-manual-transmission.html [indiandrives.com]

(an apparently some other makes)

I'd also be curious as to how one is going to make a stick-shift hybrid.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

trum4n (982031) | about 2 years ago | (#37831970)

The Honda CRz is a manual hybrid. The electric motor simply adds torque/hp to the gas one. It is declutched just the same as the gas.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (2)

hcpxvi (773888) | about 2 years ago | (#37831844)

Not only that, but manual transmission cars sold in the US often have the bizzare feature that the headlights go off if you put the handbrake on. How are you supposed to do a hill start in the dark, for goodness' sake?

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#37831910)

... why are you using the handbrake for that?

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (3, Informative)

Arlet (29997) | about 2 years ago | (#37832020)

1. Apply handbrake while keeping clutch pushed in.
2. Move foot from brake pedal to accelerator.
3. Slowly release hand brake while simultaneously easing off the clutch, and pushing the accelerator.

Without a hand brake, you'd start rolling backwards if the hill is too steep.

On a more gradual slope, you don't need the hand brake. Just release the clutch enough that you can let go off the foot brake.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

trum4n (982031) | about 2 years ago | (#37831988)

Stop using the auto headlamps, and turn them on yourself, Problem solved.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

ArAgost (853804) | about 2 years ago | (#37831222)

While that may save your life in such a circumstance, if the cruise control fails to disengage, he won't be happy with the speed decreasing; I hope their feedback control is saner than the rest of the software, but you might end having the machine revving up like crazy by itself, still not good.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

squizzar (1031726) | about 2 years ago | (#37831792)

You usually have a switch on the clutch as well as the brakes to disable cruise control. I have found on at least one car (vauxhall/opel corsa) that if you knock it out of gear the cruise control doesn't realise and starts increasing revs - I didn't wait to see how far it would go... For all manual cars the system should expect a correlation between road speed and engine revs (gear ratios are fixed after all) and disable the cruise control and flag a fault if this is not the case.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#37831830)

That's the thing. In theory, there's a rev limiter that will keep the engine from damaging itself. On the other hand, in theory, the cruise control will disengage when you brake or hit cancel. OOPS.

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#37832066)

most cars do not have a rev limiter that is exists before the natural one of something failing..

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | about 2 years ago | (#37831774)

This is the Jaguar X-Type Diesel, which if I am right was until 2008, always manual, and has a clutch. (I know, because I had one of those)

Re:My car has a fail-safe device... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#37831930)

Yes, because people who can barely drive as it is should get a car where they have to worry about coordinated action of ANOTHER limb, in order to avoid an extremely rare fault.

Oh, and automatics have an even more reliable engine power cutoff - pushing the shifter forward to the stop will put the transmission in neutral... And it will stay there.

The software cannot have been made in India (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831140)

Those guys are the mecca for development, this must have been made in some crappy, over-paid, first-world coding sweat shop.

Re:The software cannot have been made in India (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 2 years ago | (#37832058)

This would be funny if Ford hadn't owned Jag at the time these were built.

Consistency (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#37831146)

At least the software follows the model of the rest of the car. Its a jag, everything breaks down.

The glories of computer managed drivetrains (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 2 years ago | (#37831148)

Not that I'd trade what we have now for points and condensers/vacuum driven everything/carburetors. Unless you're spending like NASA does on software, the likelihood of an edge case like this is always there. It is good to see that "No customer has been affected and there had been no accidents or injuries,", per a Jag spokesperson.

Re:The glories of computer managed drivetrains (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831318)

So...this kind of makes the whole Toyota runaway car stories seem a little more plausible... I'm sure some people were just angling for lawsuit dollars, and some just messed up, but perhaps something was/is really going on...

Reminds me of a recent news story of a guy whose SUV/pickup truck got stuck in cruise control and NOTHING worked, and a cop had to pull in front of him and stop him with his brakes. The guy sure didn't LOOK like he was faking, unless he was a good actor. So *maybe* we need to think about making these systems fail safe. It's not that hard:

      * Human overrides computer, always

Or if you can't do that (re: anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, etc.), add a panic button, big and red that when pushed gives the driver full manual control. They keep power steering and hydraulic braking, but the computer no longer overrides ANY of their actions, no matter what (yes that means electronic stability control is out).

Dear Auto industry: Please address this issue now instead of telling us we're crazy/bad-drivers/liars. Many other systems where failure poses a high risk to life and limb are designed to be fail-safe. With all the drivers on the road, you have a responsibility to do the same in the cars that we drive. This is NOT a situation where a design that is 99.999% reliable but that 0.001% of the time people die is acceptable; there is no excuse for not making electronic control systems fail-safe. NONE.

** end of rant **

Re:The glories of computer managed drivetrains (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 2 years ago | (#37831698)

I haven't come to a solid conclusion about the Toyota thing, but I'm leaning to human error.

As to the idea of "power steering and hydraulic braking" becoming detached from the system, that's becoming increasingly difficult these days. ABS/Stability control are often tied to the ability of the computer to work the ABS pump. Power steering is increasingly becoming electric as a fuel efficiency measure. Some are using speed to determine the amount of assist to provide the driver. While the latter has been done with hydraulic power assist, electric makes this significantly more simple.

Hey, morons (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831166)

It's a CAR. It doesn't need a computer in every function, ESPECIALLY not with the attitude of the software retards these days.

Clutch, PRNDL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831168)

Wait so you can't push in the clutch or even shift to neutral?

Ooops (1)

kodiaktau (2351664) | about 2 years ago | (#37831174)

Sorry, test first design apparently isn't part of the Jaguar model. They do, however offer "Safety and Security" through a comprehensive range of sophisticated safety systems" [jaguar.com] , which apparently don't include cruise control. It seems unconscionable to think that there would not be a safety mechanism that could override the rest - brakes has always been the default for this type of issue.

Re:Ooops (1)

Wattos (2268108) | about 2 years ago | (#37831850)

you dont want to do test driven design. You want to use formal methods and static verification of the correctness of your code.

Oblig. (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#37831216)

Bumper sticker: All parts falling off this vehicle are of the finest British workmanship.

Re:Oblig. (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#37831688)

What no Lucas Prince of Darkness jokes?

The Lucas motto: "Get home before dark."
Lucas is the patent holder for the short circuit.
Lucas - Inventor of the first intermittent wiper.
Lucas - Inventor of the self-dimming headlamp.
The three position Lucas switch - Dim, Flicker and Off.
The Original Anti-Theft Device - Lucas Electrics.
Lucas is an acronym for Loose Unsoldered Connections and Splices
Lucas systems actually uses AC current; it just has a random frequency

No automatic update (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#37831226)

From TFA

Jaguar said drivers who returned their cars would need a software upgrade to their vehicle. No hardware needed to be replaced, it said.

What is worse: having to recall 18,000 cars or having the ability to get an automatic update (wi-fi...) + the risk of the car being remotely hacked?

Re:No automatic update (3, Funny)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#37831354)

Considering they're Jag's the owners are already very familiar with the garage so no need for something like WiFi =)
Hell most of them will be updated during the next visit, not because they received the notification.

Re:No automatic update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831494)

From TFA

Jaguar said drivers who returned their cars would need a software upgrade to their vehicle. No hardware needed to be replaced, it said.

What is worse: having to recall 18,000 cars or having the ability to get an automatic update (wi-fi...) + the risk of the car being remotely hacked?

How do you get "remote" from what you quoted? You have to bring the car in.

Clutch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831258)

Couldn't you coast to the side of the road without turning off ignition and keep power steering/brake?

Re:Clutch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831366)

even if it is automatic you should be able to throw it into neutral and let it coast without losing power steering/brake.

however with both cases if the cruise control is malfunctioning it may over rev the engine.

Re:Clutch? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | about 2 years ago | (#37831684)

The engine has a rev limiter. It might sound scary, but it isn't going to damage itself in the 30 seconds it would take to get to the side of the road and stop.

Even if you didn't throw it into neutral, the brakes are still strong enough to stop the car.

Software solutions (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 2 years ago | (#37831268)

Why are software solutions even being used at all? Shouldn't these things be controlled by specialized discrete circuits? Software solutions seen more expensive and more fault-prone, the worst of both worlds.

The Jaguar X-Type's software was custom built in-house, which could mean it's not even that mature or robust. Jaguar are not known for their software, why should we assume that their practices and methodology are sound enough when it comes to developing critical software systems? Do transportation safety board regulators even cover vehicle software? Are there any standards for this at all?

Re:Software solutions (1)

Arlet (29997) | about 2 years ago | (#37831390)

When you're trying to solve the same problem, software solutions aren't necessarily worse than discrete circuits. The only difference is that software can solve more complex problems, so that's why software bugs are more common.

Re:Software solutions (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about 2 years ago | (#37831512)

In fact, discreet circuits are theoretically harder to test than software that does the same thing and certainly harder to debug.

Give me discrete controls any day (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | about 2 years ago | (#37831938)

In fact, discreet circuits are theoretically harder to test than software that does the same thing and certainly harder to debug.

People like you scare me.

I'm not sure it's even possible to create software that does *the same thing* as a discreet circuit. If it is possible, it's never done in practice. Software invariably does more. (Trivial example: Memory management.) And that is where the problem lies.

Discrete controls will be assigned to one task and one task only (because making them do more makes the problem more complex, and thus involves more work). In practice, this makes them easier to test and debug.

Software will be assigned multiple tasks, for reasons unknown, but probably related to misguided thinking similar to the parent poster's. This still makes the problem more complex, but for some reason complexity in software is regarded as "feature rich".

Re:Software solutions (1)

gnapster (1401889) | about 2 years ago | (#37832006)

But I can always count on a discreet circuit to keep its mouth shut when the boss asks about my programming.

Re:Software solutions (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831456)

As a software developer of another major car manufacturer (actually doing cruise control among other things), I can tell you that there are plenty of very very complicated systems in a car - much more complicated than what I would have dreamed of before starting here. The complexity cannot be put into hardware simply because of the weight of it the cables required between the interacting components.

Cruise control is like most other components (in a modern car) connected to everything from crash detection systems to head up displays to mention a few. Cables between all components are not an option, so central gateways receives all signals and performs the logic instead.

And yes of cause there are standards... Even though cars still have 4 wheels their development didn't stand still the last decades.

Re:Software solutions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831532)

Because software can be patched.

Designing, fabricating, and installing new chips would be a bit of a pain, no?

Re:Software solutions (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#37831546)

Now that they have made an error it's much easier to update a software than to replace a circuit.

Re:Software solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831548)

Why are software solutions even being used at all? Shouldn't these things be controlled by specialized discrete circuits? Software solutions seen more expensive and more fault-prone, the worst of both worlds.

The Jaguar X-Type's software was custom built in-house, which could mean it's not even that mature or robust. Jaguar are not known for their software, why should we assume that their practices and methodology are sound enough when it comes to developing critical software systems? Do transportation safety board regulators even cover vehicle software? Are there any standards for this at all?

Jaguar was owned by Ford when the X-Type was brought out... And you're right, Jaguar is not known for their software, but which car producer is?

Re:Software solutions (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 2 years ago | (#37831610)

Software solutions are almost certainly cheaper than discrete logic, which is in part why they are using them. The silicon cost of, say, an 8051 is essentially zero. It is much cheaper to buy a general purpose 8051 bases microcontroller, produced in tens of millions, and customise it with software, than to create a specialized circuit. Especially if you are a small-scale producer like Jaguar - but even mass producers like Toyota do so for their mass-market cars.

But the second part of your post is germane. Who checks the QA on the software in these safety-critical systems? In avionics, the certification authorities require certain standards of software QA before they will license the aircraft to carry them. There is no such certification authority, so far as I know, for road vehicles. And there would be some reasonable opposition to imposing it: do you want to make car tuning something that can only be done by aerospace qualified companies?

Hmm.. (3, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#37831304)

Sounds like a driver issue.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | about 2 years ago | (#37831498)

Ha.

Speaking of which, I might suggest a driver-initiated technique to handle the situation: The cruise control might still allow you to change the cruise speed, which may temporarily inactivate cruise control. Push and hold the lever/knob/button to reset the cruise speed. Or use the increase/decrease speed function as your (rather clumsy) accelerator.

Diesel Engines don't have.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831308)

...ignitions to shut off.

Re:Diesel Engines don't have.... (1)

BattleApple (956701) | about 2 years ago | (#37831656)

They mean turning the key.. which will cut power to the cruise control. You could probably just turn the key to off then back on while driving to reset it

hardware solutions & dumbing down the world (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831326)

Press the clutch. Problem solved.

The move away from manual transmissions in automobiles is tragic. Not only does it dumb down both driving and drivers, it gives less control over the car, and while automatics are starting to get competitive for highway mileage, in the city a human brain can still anticipate better than any automatic. There's even some research suggesting that people driving manual transmissions are statistically safer drivers, having fewer accidents, perhaps because they are more engaged in the process and don't have their brains switched off quite as much while driving. Plus, it's just more FUN to drive a manual.

Let's stop dumbing down the world already. It's freakin' pervasive: computing, driving, hell, gaming, you name it, we seem intent on dumbing it down.

Re:hardware solutions & dumbing down the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831752)

I agree, and I also don't think that driving without power steering is a hazard.

Re:hardware solutions & dumbing down the world (1)

hcpxvi (773888) | about 2 years ago | (#37831904)

I also don't think that driving without power steering is a hazard.
Indeed. My Ford focus dumped its power steering fluid during a long drive. I was able to keep going; the only hard part was parking at the end of the trip. Once you are up to about 20mph you hardly even notice that the power steering is b0rked.

Re:hardware solutions & dumbing down the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831920)

Put the automatic into neutral?

HOWEVER, if the cruise control code is written such that putting the car in neutral pegs the RPMs trying in vain to accelerate the car then you have a blown motor in short order. Maybe people are dumbing down the world for people like you?

Car accidents (1)

Wattos (2268108) | about 2 years ago | (#37831328)

I wonder how many car accidents this failure has caused.

This is why I don't trust drive by wire systems

Re:Car accidents (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#37831978)

I used cruise control but found it ungodly difficult and dangerous by default, but that's going through winding back roads at 25mph (speed limit). It's unnerving and just ... not responsive to conditions. What is the point of cruise control when your foot is resting on the gas pedal?

I've also done 100+ mile trips (one way) in that car, cruise control was not helpful and I shut the god damn thing off. It takes significantly more driver concentration to manage the cruise control system--backing off my gas is effective to control road speed in reaction to an increase of hazards (including an increase in driver concentration needs due to more free-moving road hazards), whereas with cruise control I have to tap the brake, and then a moment later when I've settled I have to re-activate cruise control. I'll stick to letting my foot nudge and back off as a reflex, it's less like a flashy show of computer panel button mashing and more of just letting comfort and experience play.

same thing can happen in mechanical transmission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831342)

the same thing can happen in mechanical transmissions, except haha just kidding. software sucks, the best you can do is reset it to a known state on error :)

Oblig. (1)

Isarian (929683) | about 2 years ago | (#37831376)

A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.

Re:Oblig. (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | about 2 years ago | (#37831530)

I'm not sure what "Oblig" means in this case, but you forgot to include the final factor D, which is the opportunity cost in lost revenue from bad publicity and lack of trust in your product over the next 15-20 years.

Re:Oblig. (1)

stewbee (1019450) | about 2 years ago | (#37831670)

That is certainly a 'whoosh' for you. This is a quote from the movie/book Fight Club, where the main character did this for his job.

Re:Oblig. (1)

squizzar (1031726) | about 2 years ago | (#37831854)

Unfortunately the first two rules of what is being referred two prevent me from disclosing what is being referred to...

Seriously? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 2 years ago | (#37831480)

If the fault occurs, cruise control can only be disabled by turning of the ignition while driving

The advice is really "try turning it off and on again"?

(How about adding a soft-reset button on the steering wheel for all these drive-by-wire features?)

Could the article be more wrong? (5, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 2 years ago | (#37831502)

If the fault occurs, cruise control can only be disabled by turning of the ignition while driving â" which would mean a loss of some control and in many cars also disables power steering.

Public Service Announcement time from a decade-long car geek.

SHUTTING OFF YOUR ENGINE WILL NOT CAUSE YOU TO LOSE CONTROL OF YOUR CAR. You'll somewhat slowly come to a stop. You won't "endo". You won't flip over and crash in a ball of fire. Your wheels won't even lock up. Furthermore, once your car is moving at a walking pace, you no longer need power steering. Try it some time in a parking lot. And no, you won't lose your brakes, unless your braking system has been poorly maintained. Test this by shutting off your engine in your driveway and seeing how many times you can press the pedal before it suddenly goes hard. That's where you have lost braking assist. Even further: loss of braking assist does not mean you can't stop the car - you just have to press much, much harder.

What is dangerous: if the ignition lock on the steering column activates and you need to steer. This is why you should turn the key to the accessory-only position.

Braking or pressing the cancel button will not work

Second PSA:

BRAKING ALWAYS WORKS. With the exception of some ultrapowerful cars like the Veyron, there is an order of magnitude difference between the maximum torque your brakes can generate, and the maximum torque your engine can.

The key is that you have to stop safely but quickly, firmly, and completely, and STAY STOPPED until you've shut off the engine. If you ride the brakes, you'll keep heating up the rotors, pads, and brake fluid. If the brake fluid boils (or more accurately, the water in the brake fluid, since it's hygroscopic and people aren't good about changing their brake fluid as often as they should) or you exceed the maximum operating temperature of the brake pads (passenger vehicle pads are designed for "cold" bite, ie to be useable for panic stops), then yes, you will not have effective brakes.

Re:Could the article be more wrong? (1)

MBCook (132727) | about 2 years ago | (#37831584)

Let me see if I get this straight.

If I turn off my engine by turning the key, then I could end up engaging the ignition lock and the steering wheel won't be able to be turned. Also, I lose power steering, which could make keeping control of the car much more difficult. If my car won't respond to the normal ways to turn off cruise control, I think most people who think to use the keys would instinctively turn the car all the way off, not remember to only turn it to accessory. And in accessory, you still lose the power steering.

Braking won't disengage cruise control like it normally would. I believe that's what the article was referring to.

I don't think the article was that bad.

Re:Could the article be more wrong? (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#37831732)

If it's stuck in gear, you won't lose the power steering since the engine will be getting turned by the momentum of the car.

If you turn the key off, you won't lock the steering. The lock only comes on when you pull the key right out. If you manage to do this by accident, put the key back in and turn it to accessory.

Re:Could the article be more wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831832)

On a vehicle with automatic transmission, the engine does not get turned by the momentum of the car.

Re:Could the article be more wrong? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#37831916)

It depends on the gearbox. On most that don't have electronically-controlled selector valves, it will turn the engine once you're above a certain speed.

Re:Could the article be more wrong? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#37832070)

On many cars, the steering will lock when you turn the key to the off position even if you leave it in the ignition.

You are a lucky person (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#37831802)

But some of us are not and we might have to loose speed FAST. NOW, not AFTER our brains have processed not just that we need to stop in a hurry BUT that now something is wrong and we have to do something we never really thought about doing while whatever has made it necessary to stop is approaching at 130km/h.

Or translated, I am driving on cruise control, which means I am NOT fully in control of the car because I am not expecting anything, when suddenly there is an accident in front me. I slam on the brakes and rather then them working fully against ONLY the weight of the car, they now got to work against the engine to. A Jaguar engine, not a tiny city mobile. Now I got to get my hands of the steering wheel while I am trying to avoid a high speed collision and fiddle with the keys...

Your use case only applies if a decide to disengage cruise control early on while driving comfortable with plenty of time to asses the situation and come up with a solution.

I hope if this ever happens to anyone, they will have that time and empty road ahead of them and quickness of mind to come up with your solution because I just know your average motorists is perfectly capable of doing this... why yes, I do not drive, I go by train. Why do you ask?

Re:Could the article be more wrong? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 years ago | (#37831824)

Braking or pressing the cancel button will not work
Second PSA:
BRAKING ALWAYS WORKS. With the exception of some ultrapowerful cars like the Veyron, there is an order of magnitude difference between the maximum torque your brakes can generate, and the maximum torque your engine can.


I think they are referring to the standard practice of pressing the brake to automatically disengage the cruise control. Apparently, that does not work in this case.

Re:Could the article be more wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831878)

Oh yeah?! What about us poor bastards that have a push button ignition you insensitive clod!

Re:Could the article be more wrong? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#37832028)

SHUTTING OFF YOUR ENGINE WILL NOT CAUSE YOU TO LOSE CONTROL OF YOUR CAR. You'll somewhat slowly come to a stop. You won't "endo". You won't flip over and crash in a ball of fire. Your wheels won't even lock up.

I owned a 2004 Pontiac GTO at one point and, coming from a 1995 Chevy Cavalier, decided to slow down by shifting from fifth to third and rev matching, then completely releasing the accelerator.

TOKYO DRIFT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!

There was this loud screeching and my car wiggled with every nudge of the steering wheel, it was like floating. The rear tires had completely lost traction on dry, black pave. That fuckin' V8 engine had enough negative torque with the throttle closed to skid my back wheels!

Have fun shutting your engine off.

System problem, not software (1)

zenaida_valdez (599247) | about 2 years ago | (#37831570)

This design flaw was baked in before they wrote the first line of code. Before throttle-by-wire, the brake pedal had two independent kill mechanisms: an electrical switch to open the solenoid circuit, and a vacuum valve to dump the vacuum to the throttle servo. Either was sufficient to defeat the cruise control. Now it's all single thread. I don't want to go back to coil and points, but some control systems should have multiple override.

Diesels have no ignitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831582)

(i)If the fault occurs, cruise control can only be disabled by turning of the ignition while driving — which would mean a loss of some control and in many cars also disables power steering.(/i)

Diesels are compression-ignition engines. They do not have ignition systems, since it is the temperature of compressed air which begins combustion.

Any cruise control would have to regulate fuel flow, which is electronic through fuel injectors.

Does not apply in the US (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#37831596)

Jaguar doesn't sell Diesels here. Like many other manufacturers, they assume that Americans are either too stupid to handle a Diesel, or they assume that Americans still think that all Diesels are the same as the terrible examples our big three produced in the 70s and 80s in response to the oil crisis.

So yeah, it sucks that Jag has a software glitch. But nobody here has to worry about it since there are exactly zero Diesel X-types in the US.

Re:Does not apply in the US (1)

Arlet (29997) | about 2 years ago | (#37831908)

But nobody here has to worry about it since there are exactly zero Diesel X-types in the US.

Not everybody here is from the US.

Clueless OP (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#37831602)

If the fault occurs, cruise control can only be disabled by turning of the ignition while driving — which would mean a loss of some control and in many cars also disables power steering.

Obviously stub writer knows approximately jack about how cars function... shutting off the ignition will "disable," i.e. shutdown, the power steering in all cars, as the power steering pump is driven by the belt assembly. However, that's hardly a safety concern at speed; many modern autos automatically shut down the power steering system when traveling at highway speeds, as it is only a useful system at low speeds.

The real problem with turning the ignition (key) to the OFF position is that the steering lock will engage, making it impossible to change trajectory until you turn the ignition back on.

FYI, the best thing to do in an "out of control cruise" situation would be to put the transmission in neutral, get to the shoulder, and stop, THEN shut the ignition off; doing so may grenade the engine, but it will also save your life.

Re:Clueless OP (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | about 2 years ago | (#37831932)

Every car I've ever driven has a key position between 'on' and 'wheel lock'. On most cars it's the accessories position, on my current car it seems to be 'off but wheel unlocked'. I haven't driven a Jag before but I doubt turning off the engine puts you right into the wheel lock state.

Re:Clueless OP (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#37832046)

Every car I've ever driven has a key position between 'on' and 'wheel lock'. On most cars it's the accessories position, on my current car it seems to be 'off but wheel unlocked'. I haven't driven a Jag before but I doubt turning off the engine puts you right into the wheel lock state.

In a panic situation, ACC is hard to find.

Voice of experience here.

WHY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831650)

That's why you never trust a computer when manual controls will do. Seriously.... Not worth it. Maybe that's why I drive a 70s era car. Not great gas mileage, but everyone sure seems to get out of my way (as opposed to the usual honking and "get out of my way" attitude) when driving at my own calm at the speed limit pace. So I"m not exactly speeding along - but I do get there. An I can enable and disable cruise control at will.

You can't beat manual. It will either work or it won't. It it doesn't, it won't effect the rest of the car's functions. Other than optimal efficiency I don't see why so many people risk such dangers (relying on error prone automatic / computer controlled devices). Mistakes happen. Why not try to avoid as many as possible? The simpler, the better - the less there is to break down or malfunction.

Re Cruise control problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831812)

Right joking aside people unless it is something you use do not have any mods done yet a lot cars that have had the mod attempted are now waiting for an extensive repair job as it kills the car DEAD personal experience of 5 people with said cars that are now at the dealers awaiting a major repair this is not a joke folks ..

Sounds like the Toyota problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37831870)

Doesn't this problem seem similar to the Toyota acceleration problem (and even standing on the brakes doesn't work?).

I always wondered in Toyota's case if it wasn't the cruise control losing its mind and hammering the accelerator (which it certainly could do). They blame it on a sticky accelerator but from some cases a read the car accelerates on its own much like a cruise control would do.

I'll stick to my old vehicles (1)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | about 2 years ago | (#37831976)

I'll keep driving my old carbureted vehicles. They just plain work every time. I only owned one fuel injected vehicle and it was the worst vehicle I ever owned. Carbureted vehicles with no computers just plain work every time, so that's what I'll stick with. Technology is great and I enjoy working with it in my career, but I flat out do not need a computer or any fancy electronics in my vehicles.
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