The other day I heard someone talk about what it might be like if car makers or other manufacturers released products the way most companies released software. Think about it. “We think the wheels will stay on but we’re looking for beta testers for our new car.” Anyone want to sign up? Probably not. And yet a lot of software is widely released so that other people can do the final testing for the company. Think about beta releases of Windows for example.
As I mulled that over during the day I found myself listening to part of an interview with the CEO of Ford Motor company. (Ford CEO Mark Fields on self-driving cars and Henry Ford) During the interview he said that the Ford F-150 has something like 150,000,000 lines of code. Ok that is a fairly meaningless number in many regards but it does highlight the amount of computing power and related dependence of software in modern cars and trucks.
Self-driving cares, which Fields also talked about, will be even more dependent on software. If that doesn’t make you at least a little nervous you probably never worked on the development of commercial software.
We probably need to think a bit more seriously about software testing and quality control for software designed for self-driving cars than we do for video games. But wait there is more!
More than it works and doesn’t kill people? Yes actually. There is the whole security question. (Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It)
We really need to get more serious about writing good, secure code.