GM recalls 4m cars after software glitch causes airbag failure

GM recalls 4m cars after software glitch causes airbag failure

GM recalls 4m cars after software glitch causes airbag failure
GM recalls 4m cars after software glitch causes airbag failure

GM reacts after car software found to be responsible for fatality

US car firm General Motors has recalled more than four million of its connected cars after a glitch in its software was linked to a death.

The carmaker said the fault, which can prevent airbags operating in a car crash, was rare. Seat belts may also fail. Among the recalled vehicles are cars, trucks and SUVs made between 2014 and 2017. GM said it was update software for free.

The fault lay in a sensing diagnostic module in affected vehicles that can improperly activate under certain circumstances that prevented airbags from deploying, the car firm said

“A failure of the front air bags or seat belt pretensioners to deploy in the event of a crash necessitating deployment increases the risk of injury to the driver and front passenger,” said a GM filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announces the recall Friday.

GM criticised for OTA updates

Cesare Garlati, chief security strategist for the prpl Foundation, told Internet of Business that while some security experts have criticised the company for not allowing for software updates “over-the-air” (OTA), these updates may bring in more problems than they solve.

“As automobiles become more reliant on embedded technology, security of these systems has to come further up the agenda or more (albeit unnecessary) accidents are inevitable.  What is needed in the embedded systems that allow our cars to become connected is a solid foundation built on a root of trust, secure boot and virtualisation. And it has to be open source in order to work and be transparent and interoperable,” he said.

Roger Bou, director of Internet of Things Solutions World Congress, told Internet of Business that software faults, as well as security and privacy issues, will crop up from time to time when IoT technologies are being implemented. However, by following best practice guidelines, we can give ourselves the best chance of mitigating against these threats.

“The possibilities of IoT devices being hacked, disabled or controlled by malicious forces are just too destructive to contemplate. A lot of existing IoT technologies were built without paying proper attention to these eventualities. This isn’t an insurmountable problem – it’s always possible to create ‘gateway’ devices that can handle security for older devices that aren’t inherently as secure as they should be,” he said.

Connected car partnerships

In other news, Audi has strengthened it partnerships with Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent. The firms will work on features for the connected car of the future. Audi China and the brand’s joint venture FAW-Volkswagen signed tripartite memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent respectively.

Starting from 2017, Audi will launch Baidu CarLife in its local model line-up, for seamless transfer of Baidu’s popular app services between the customers’ digital devices and their cars.

With Tencent, Audi is currently developing the integration of WeChat MyCar services into Audi models. The first features to be implemented will be location sharing and music sharing. WeChat is Asia’s leading communication services app with over 700 million active users.

“China has become an important lead market for digital technologies. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are strong innovators. We are determined to work with them on features for the connected car of the future”, says Joachim Wedler, president of Audi China.