Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Slow Response? (Score 1) 157 157

As an automotive engineer, I'm frightened by the rapid response to this issue. This isn't Facebook. When an auto manufacturer "moves fast and breaks things" people get hurt. Every change should go through months of validation before being released to the customer.

I realize this exploit is a concern. However, is Chrysler sure they haven't introduced a bug with far worse consequences by implementing this change?

Comment Re:I hate it already! (Score 1) 118 118

I too am an engineer, and I optimize things for a living. However, you have to exercise some level of restraint. There are plenty of projects that can be marginally better, but the customer won't notice or care. At some point a project is "good enough" and you ship it. If you obsess over making everything perfect you will either end up making vaporware or annoying your customers with seemingly pointless changes (e.g. Google Maps).

This has taken me years to realize. As an engineer I want to optimize everything. However, optimization for optimization's sake is a waste. Focus on what will really improve the experience for the end user. If the end user thinks it's perfect, LEAVE IT ALONE!

Grandpa was an engineer too. Learn from his years of experience.

Comment Re:Holy Jebus (Score 1) 220 220

Most of those outsourced parts are electronic, because Elon Musk doesn't own a semiconductor factory (yet).

I doubt he owns his own bauxite mine or aluminum refinery either. The rabbit hole goes much deeper than just shaping raw materials. The quality of the material was the root cause in this case.

Comment Re:Transparency (Score 1) 220 220

Random testing can only pick up systemic faults within an entire product line not random ones.

Statistics is your friend in this case. Random testing should show a large standard deviation (assuming they test to failure). You should then be able to calculate the probability of failure.

This may not be so random. ...Or some shlub forgot to heat treat two of the struts.

Comment Re:Apparently Toyota Units Fail Often... (Score 1) 56 56

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 Ford licensed the technology but developed it themselves.

Comment Apparently Toyota Units Fail Often... (Score 1) 56 56

According to a New York taxi mechanic quoted in this article talking about Ford hybrid systems:

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.

Comment Re:There's a few problems here. (Score 1) 149 149

5. In order to have a chance to regulate the temperature well - and not keep cycling through blasts of heat and cooling - they'll need multiple temp probes, and an awareness of the outside temp and humidity as well, since ceramic insulation or no, the external environment will play a huge factor.

If your PID controller is cycling like that something is seriously wrong. Even a poorly tuned controller should eventually stabilize, unless the gains are way out from where they should be. The controller should be easily capable of overcoming fluctuations in ambient temperature, even in New England.

Comment Re:I seriously would like to know (Score 1) 47 47

NASA had a dependable spacecraft. Couldn't they have improved the Space Shuttle?

The Space Shuttle was far from dependable. Worst of all, when it failed, it failed catastrophically. The issues were due to its very basic design. One example being solid rocket boosters operating along side the crewed spacecraft. Once the boosters are lit, there is no turning back. They can't be turned off, and they can't be jettisoned.

The issues were much worse prior to Challenger. Structural changes were made to the stack to allow the spacecraft to continue to fly with main engine failures. From my understanding, the shuttles' main engines were capable of propelling the craft to orbit, but not the fuel. The solid rocket boosters were needed to lift that big orange fuel tank. If the shuttle's engines went out, the connections between the shuttle, tank, and solid rockets were not strong enough, and the whole thing would break apart.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 1) 105 105

Right up until the point you said "baseball." In the title.

It's actually more interesting than you might think. The Houston Astro's have been a poor performing team up until very recently. They hired a new manager that uses data driven techniques similar to those used in the book/movie Moneyball. Since they hired him, the team's performance has improved. There is talk of him having some "proprietary information" that has boosted the team's performance.

The game of baseball has evolved more rapidly in the past ten years than it has in the previous 100. It is more data driven than ever. I wouldn't be surprised if teams are building computer models of performance that they then try to optimize.

Comment Re:Good god. (Score 4, Informative) 253 253

... you'd think the A400M engine software would have a *baked in* "go home without crashing" dataset.

From how I read the article, it does have a default dataset that it switches to when it detects a problem. From TFA:

The automatic response is to hunker down and prevent what would usually be a single engine problem causing more damage.

Limiting the speed of a ground vehicle is safe. However, limiting the speed of an aircraft causes a crash. It sounds like they need to reevaluate their "limp home" calibration, as we call it in the industry.

Many people write memos to tell you they have nothing to say.