[SystemSafety] The VW Saga

Driscoll, Kevin R kevin.driscoll at honeywell.com
Mon Oct 12 11:36:09 CEST 2015

What I am afraid of is that we will find other diesel engine manufacturers that have software that falls into a gray area.  Where is the line between emissions "cheating" and software that just happens to optimize engine emissions for driving conditions that look in awful lot like emissions testing scenarios?  Bringing us back to our regularly scheduled program:  where is the dividing line between safe and unsafe software?

And, of course, both of these will run into the issue Peter raises below of the public's interest in knowing what is in software versus the software creators' desire to keep trade secret IP.

Yesterday I saw my first television ad for an "ambulance chasing" law firm that was pretending to be (or heavily implied that it was) the official recall contact.

-----Original Message-----
From: systemsafety-bounces at lists.techfak.uni-bielefeld.de [mailto:systemsafety-bounces at lists.techfak.uni-bielefeld.de] On Behalf Of Peter Bernard Ladkin
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2015 4:15 AM
To: RICQUE Bertrand (SAGEM DEFENSE SECURITE); The System Safety List
Subject: Re: [SystemSafety] The VW Saga

Hash: SHA256

On 2015-10-12 10:48 , RICQUE Bertrand (SAGEM DEFENSE SECURITE) wrote:
> It depends.

It sure does!

(I'm slowly beginning to think this is your way of saying "Hi everyone!" :-) )

> It raises interesting questions. Can the retrofit be mandatory ? How 
> can the usual periodic tests (very generic) discover a problem designed to be hidden ?

The questions are indeed interesting, and complicated. I raised this issue a while ago (in 2014, I
think) privately. Both colleagues thought one could never get companies to agree to open up their SW IP (as Naughton points out, an increasing portion of the value of a product) to third-party inspection. But one of them thinks it an appropriate measure, as I do.

It can't be impossible. For a long time, companies have had to open their finances to independent inspection once a year. For financial companies (some of the very biggest companies), almost their entire IP consists in that. It also doesn't always work (Enron, WorldCom, Lehmann, Madoff). But it mostly does.

So it can be done. What's different about the case for SW?

It would have to be done through legal instrument, as with finances. And if just one country passes such a law, then there is the danger that multinationals will just stop selling their products there.

But I bet there's a way somehow.


Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, Faculty of Technology, University of Bielefeld, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany Je suis Charlie
Tel+msg +49 (0)521 880 7319  www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de


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