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Toyota Recalls 625,000 Hybrid Vehicles Over Software Glitch 56

hypnosec writes: Yesterday we discussed news that over 65,000 Range Rovers were being recalled over a software issue. Not to be outdone, Japanese car manufacturer Toyota on Wednesday recalled 625,000 hybrid vehicles globally to fix a different software defect. The automaker said the defect in question might lead to shut down of the hybrid system while the car is being driven. The recall was due to software settings that could result in "higher thermal stress" in parts of a power converter, potentially causing it to become damaged. Toyota dealers will update the software for both the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU in the involved vehicles.
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Toyota Recalls 625,000 Hybrid Vehicles Over Software Glitch

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  • The automaker said the defect in question might lead to shut down of the hybrid system while the car is being driven.

    Uh yeah. But you left out the only good quote in the article, which would have been better than the copy above: "In limited instances, the hybrid system might shut down while the vehicle is being driven, resulting in the loss of power, bringing the vehicle to stop," (sic) the car manufacturer said." This is not "shut down of the hybrid system", this is "shut down of the powertrain". Because it's a hybrid. That is the system.

  • You know...I'd really pretty much like to go back to simpler cars, without all the computer bullshit, and make it mechanical again. Carburators, easy to use manual transmission, etc.

    That way YOU could work on your own car again without an IT degree (not to mention breaking DMCA rules if you try to crack into your OWN car)...and you'd not be dependent on a software malfunction, nor have to worry about your car being 'hacked'...

    Simple to use, simple to diagnose and repair.

    • I wouldn't mind interior door handles made from die-cast aluminum as apposed to cheap plastic either. {$30 for a plastic door handle, you're kidding?} My current vehicle has so many design flaws that didn't exist in older vehicles I've owned I sometimes think we are going backwards.

    • by coolmoose25 ( 1057210 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @10:49AM (#50116429)
      I think you are romanticizing the past. Will you get rid of automatic chokes, electronic ignition too? I'm old enough to remember cars in those days. My 1972 Buick Le Sabre Estate Wagon had a very intricate starting procedure. You had to push the gas pedal all the way to the floor to set the choke. Then pump the gas pedal 2-3 times to prime the carb. Then you had to "crack" the gas pedal just the right amount. THEN you could turn the ignition key. Assuming the car turned over, it MIGHT start. Then, if it did not, you pumped the gas pedal one more time in case there was not enough fuel yet. Don't do it twice though. If you did, the engine was now "flooded" and you had to wait 15 minutes to try again. It's also possible that the one extra pump of the pedal flooded it. If you were lucky, the car started on the first try, but more likely it took 2, maybe 3 turns of the key to get the thing to start.

      Today, you get in, turn the key enough to engage the starter. I you let it go, the car continues to crank until started. At least that's what my Expedition does. Anyway, it starts every time unless the battery is dead, or there is some other big problem. Sure, your old car was easy to work on. That's just another way of saying that it was always broken by today's standards.
      • by digsbo ( 1292334 )
        Exactly. Yes, a vastly higher percentage of failures on modern cars are unlikely to be readily fixed by a handy owner. At the same time it is certain to be true that the absolute number of breakdowns is vastly lower, because they are so much more reliable overall.
      • I think you are romanticizing the past. Will you get rid of automatic chokes, electronic ignition too? I'm old enough to remember cars in those days. My 1972 Buick Le Sabre Estate Wagon had a very intricate starting procedure. You had to push the gas pedal all the way to the floor to set the choke. Then pump the gas pedal 2-3 times to prime the carb. Then you had to "crack" the gas pedal just the right amount. THEN you could turn the ignition key. Assuming the car turned over, it MIGHT start. Then, if it di

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      You know...I'd really pretty much like to go back to simpler cars, without all the computer bullshit, and make it mechanical again. Carburators, easy to use manual transmission, etc.

      That way YOU could work on your own car again without an IT degree (not to mention breaking DMCA rules if you try to crack into your OWN car)...and you'd not be dependent on a software malfunction, nor have to worry about your car being 'hacked'...

      Simple to use, simple to diagnose and repair.

      Unfortunately older cars are gross polluters compared to newer cars. Older cars don't have any of the active passenger safety equipment that newer cars have and many of those systems don't work especially well without computers to operate them.

      I work on cars for my entertainment, having ruined a good hobby in computers by making it my profession. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of the changes in the auto industry. I've found the sweet spot to be around 1995. I drive a '95 Impala SS beca

      • I do miss simple, but I don't miss 12 miles per gallon like I got in many older vehicles, nor do I miss having to make seasonal carburetor adjustments to keep it running decently.

        The early 80s had a lot of cars that broke the 50mpg barrier and throttle bodies didn't require seasonal adjustments, they also had timing chains instead of belts that are supposed to be changed every 30k miles like some of the mid 90s models. A yearly tuneup took about 45 minutes and involved a timing light, cap, rotor, plugs, and maybe plug cables.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          The only two cars that I am aware of that were sold in the US that even came close to what you're suggesting were the early CVCC-based Honda Accord and the Suzuki Swift, sold as the Geo Metro here. Fuel economy was the only thing going for these cars.

          It's unfortunate, but size really is equated with comfort and luxury, and often for good reason as size gives room for features and room for the occupants find a comfortable seating position, and longer and wider wheelbases usually make for more comfortable
          • There were a lot of them and even some of larger vehicle like the buick century were getting in the 40mpg range

            http://www.mpgomatic.com/2007/... [mpgomatic.com]

            • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

              You don't really believe those numbers, do you? That chart claims that the Dodge Omni got 35 city and 55 highway. Two years later, according to the EPA [fueleconomy.gov] the same car got only 26 city and 35 highway. What happened in those 2 years to cause a 33% reduction in mileage? Better testing.

              • I have owned an 82 cavalier, datsun 310, buick century, and pontiac 6000 all of them except the datsun 310 got that or better. The datsun was a stick, I was 16, and drove it like I was on a race track. A lot of those engines went from 1.7 - 1.8 to being 2.0 in 83-84 and they also had new emissions systems and new throttle body type not compatible with the 82.

      • Unfortunately older cars are gross polluters compared to newer cars.

        Not that big of an issue to me.

        I do miss simple, but I don't miss 12 miles per gallon like I got in many older vehicles

        Well, I've got a good job and can afford the gas. I lost a a 1986 Porsche 911 Turbo to Katrina...on a good day it used to get about 10mpg...it wasn't really street legal tho.

        I've just come into some money, right now I'm looking to get maybe a '76-'77 Trans Am 455 4-speed. They can be had restored in the $20K range.

        I'm

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          You're going to need a lot more than a crank to get those kind of horses out of a smog-era Trans-am. My brother had a '77 with the 455 and the compression in that engine is so low that you're talking at least new pistons plus the associated bore/hone/bearing job, and if you want those 500 ponies to not grenade you'll need a forged crank and probably H-beam rods, plus if they cheapened the transmission as the HP dropped and didn't need to be so strong, you'll probably have to replace that. Then there's the
          • You're going to need a lot more than a crank to get those kind of horses out of a smog-era Trans-am. My brother had a '77 with the 455

            That can NOT be correct...1976 was the LAST year for the 455 big block engine.

            The '75-'76 were quite air restricted and all, but they still had the same power plant and all of the earlier cars, so they just need a little help to coax those horses back out.

            But the '77 cars and on, were MUCH weaker and the 400 engine was the highest option after that.

            I plan to do a bit mor

            • by TWX ( 665546 )
              I had meant to say cam, not crank in my previous reply.

              It probably was a 400 in his car. Definitely the Bandit-era look to it.

              Most of the seventies cars that I've played with (admittedly mostly Mopars) were much weaker than the cars from the sixties; power continued until about '71 or '72 and then dramatically fell-off with low compression. Chrysler discontinued the dual-quad and six-barrel carb options before '73 on both the small block and big block engines, and '78 was the last year of Chrysler's
    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      You have got to be kidding. Yes, those cars were easy to work on, they had to be as they required constant service. Ever wonder why all the 'service stations' became 'mini-marts'? Because new, electronically-controlled, cars no longer provided the steady cash stream that all that mechanical crap did.

      I remember when I was a kid in the 60s that a big part of the family vacation budget was 'get the car ready.' Going on any trip of more than a few hundred miles meant 'major tuneup' - points, plugs, distribu

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        You have got to be kidding. Yes, those cars were easy to work on, they had to be as they required constant service. Ever wonder why all the 'service stations' became 'mini-marts'? Because new, electronically-controlled, cars no longer provided the steady cash stream that all that mechanical crap did.

        I remember when I was a kid in the 60s that a big part of the family vacation budget was 'get the car ready.' Going on any trip of more than a few hundred miles meant 'major tuneup' - points, plugs, distributor

  • Things are going to be like this from now on. Software bugs in your car's software are going to a part of life. Does car software auto-update yet? If not, that's another brilliant "solution" that someone is going to come up with to "fix" the problem. It won't fix it at all, of course, the problem is that car software is rushed out without testing to meet unreasonable deadlines set by marketing. Since features sell cars, the problem will never go away.

    • Dealer: Don't worry, sir, you can fix the windscreen wipers automatically turning off if the rain gets too heavy by upgrading to CarOS 2016, which also features a range of other enhancements we believe may interest you.

      Customer: But CarOS 2016 is widely reported to need more processing power than my Car 2012 came with. Do I need to upgrade my hardware as well?

      Dealer: Sorry, sir, but for safety reasons there are no user-serviceable parts in your Car 2012. We recommend upgrading to Car 2016, which is fully ca

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      Do you have the slightest bit of evidence that the 'problem' is what you said? If the problem was as you state, then it should manifest itself immediately. This particular problem took 5YEARS and 600K+ vehicles, with probably tens of BILLIONS of vehicle miles, to come to light. How much testing is 'enough' in your opinion? Can you point me to the 'properly tested' software (ANY software) that meets your criteria? Can you point to ANY man-made thing that meets your criteria?

  • by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

    So... would installing a wireless, GMS or even just bluetooth interface on all cars have cost more or less than recalling over 600k vehicles?

    OTOH, unless you do it like Tesla, where internet access is part of the sale price, we'd have the same syndrome as with gaming consoles where software is released in a buggy state since it can be patched easily later on. With cars, that would not be a good thing.

    • So... would installing a wireless, GMS or even just bluetooth interface on all cars have cost more or less than recalling over 600k vehicles?

      Not enough information, and it depends on what particular problem you are trying to solve. A bluetooth interface really saves little time over a hard connector interface. Any system that is fully connected comes with added security overhead. Selective use of separate/independent embedded systems can make sense where safety is involved.

      There may be reasons why a major firmware update OTA is not desirable. Maybe some safety checks are in order before turning the vehicle back in to use.

    • The OBD-II port in the vehicle almost certainly exposes the CAN bus that allows those components to be upgraded, although probably in some painfully undocumented and/or deliberately restricted way. The really nasty OBD-II dongles likely aren't smart enough for it and Toyota probably doesn't post firmware updates on their website in any case; but if they trusted the user to handle the situation they could probably cook up a dedicated update module that the user can just plug and go for peanuts. It would real
  • According to a New York taxi mechanic quoted in this article talking about Ford hybrid systems: [jalopnik.com]

    They’re great. I’ve never seen a cell go bad or a module. I’ve had to crack a few open (only twice) and put new cooling fans but other than that they are perfect. The camry and prius burn battery packs like crazy.

    • by Predius ( 560344 )

      But... Ford's system IS Toyota based... they licensed the HSD system from Toyota.

      • But... Ford's system IS Toyota based... they licensed the HSD system from Toyota.

        The details are what's important. Did they license the technology, or buy it from Toyota Who was responsible for the software, calibration, and integration?

        Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] Ford licensed the technology but developed it themselves.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        But... Ford's system IS Toyota based... they licensed the HSD system from Toyota.

        In other words, mechanics are biased.

        Its the old Holden (GM) vs Ford mentality, no matter how bad a car is they'll never admit that their favoured brand is bad whilst using any excuse to deride the competition.

        Toyota tends to issue a recall over anything that might in some once in a million years scenario cause something to go wrong. This is why it looks like they issue a lot of recalls but the recalls are for minor issues like a seat adjustment rail. This is overwhelmingly a good thing as it shows To

  • by Anonymous Coward

    OMG a vague possibility of the car losing power and rolling to a stop. High risk of at least someone being stranded, somewhere. This is a common risk with any car ever!

    It's great that Toyota is fixing this minor issue, but is this actually Slashdot worthy?

    Seriously! So fucking what?

  • Looks like a good excuse to waste time with our friends at Tosche station!
  • if (headlights draining too much power to operate safely) then shut off headlights

    Anyone see a flaw in this, say, driving at 80 mph on the highway at night?

    Engineers should not fight the wrong fight

  • Not to be outdone, Japanese car manufacturer Toyota on Wednesday recalled 625,000 hybrid vehicles globally to fix a different software defect

    I'm glad the recall is to fix a different defect. I would hope Toyota wouldn't recall some of their cars to fix a software defect that only exists in Land Rovers.

  • by invid ( 163714 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2015 @02:00PM (#50118277)
    Range Rover recalled over 65,000 cars? It wouldn't happen to be 65536 cars, would it? That might be a clue.

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