Thursday, October 22, 2015

You Can't Download a Car

When I was wee slip of a computer science student, I participated in a number of Software Engineering courses where the topic would come up: "Why don't we produce software like we do cars?"

The answers ranged from "Software is different" to "We don't the discipline NOT to make a tweek just as the software is leaving the factory"

Well, we are now getting the answer to the corollary: "What happens when software engineers start making cars?" It turns out that we could have predicted the result.

I am normally a fanboy for  Spacex and Elon Musk but this bit of news is worrying.  Seems that all those super-modern, super-fast electric sports cars made by Tesla are starting to show their age and owners are reporting issues raging from failing drive trains and charging systems to repeated problems with door handles to squeeks and leaks.

While a rocket needs to produce high performance for a limited amount of time, an modern automobile is expected to last 10+ years without major problems.

It will be interesting to see what happens as Google and Apple get into the car business.  Will their hubris as the darlings of the entrepreneurial world lead to their stumble in a business that requires patience and attention to unsexy issues like door handles instead of  bigger-than-life personalities and planned obsolescence?

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