Modern cars, propriotary software

Hello world,

In a quite old video from L1T, Wendell discusses the fact of machinery and home appliances that nobody ever changes out yearly “because it has a bigger screen”. Cars are kinda the same thing. You can go out and buy a 1940s Volkswagen, and it will run and work fine. Only issue is going to be the material wear on the parts.
now to the topic
But what about modern cars, with all their operating systems; software breaks, doors and what not.
How can we possibly expect and have a car from 2022 be working in 2042, 2062 or 2082? Is there someone making an OS that can universally be used like Home Assitant or does everyone have to trial and error to make the software working for a car that is a few years old? What about a car that was released by a car manufacturer that does not exist anymore? Does the car just not work because it can’t connect home?

What do you think? What should we do? Are cars that can be hacked even technically safe to use?

Well, I’d wager a few points here

Number 1, and the biggest is safety, I would never drive a 1940’s VW, you would die in a crash, and I don’t like being dead

Check this out (This is essentially an old car vs new)

Then comfort. I would love to drive a 1940 VW for some fun on the weekend, but going grocery shopping? No power steering, its slow as heck, no heated seats, no connecting to my phone, no showing navigation, headlights probably terrible, etc etc

How can we possibly expect and have a car from 2022 be working in 2042, 2062 or 2082?

I know of factories manufacturing critical parts with CNC machines and other equipment that are controlled by Windows 95 machines, and still have no issue. I’d wager that Windows 95 is a lot easier to break than car software you can’t login as admin with and mess around with

So, I don’t see it as much of a stretch that a car from today would still work just fin in 2049. Plenty of old cars with computers still trucking along

Well I haven’t been in a 1940s VW, but in a 1966 Beetle. My father has one and we used to drive it around town in the summer. It doesn’t matter about navigation because we all knew exactly where we were. No need to connect a phone, as no radio to play music through. Nor would you need to charge the phone then because it won’t go low on the way. You can upgrade all the other things (headlights, heated seats, radio) basically without a manual. Also enough space in the car for groceries.

Repairability is a concern of mine; for example the one Tesla car mechanic who made his youtube channel about Teslas. He had to figure out everything by emself to be able to take two broken Teslas and make one working.

The question is just that what is the repairability in software cars?

I’d agree that cars are something that should be able to be kept around for at least ~20-30 years, longer than many people are keeping them now. However I think as time goes by the average car on the road’s age is going to go up and up because on average older cars were more maintainable than newer cars.

As far as operating systems on a car, traditional cars don’t really have one, they have individual modules that run lower level firmware that talk to each other over canbus and are typically very reliable… but when a hardware fault does eventually develop (fatigued solder joint, capacitor explodes, magic smoke escapes) the module will need replacing, and that’s when the issue of diagnostic tools comes in which are the sustainability problem I’m worried about. Some diagnostic tools are absolutely required to do a replacement job and are no longer made.

Then there are the other more “integrated” cars like teslas or basically any EV, these do run software on a more integrated system and can have trouble (bugs) and break the core functionality of a car, I don’t have confidence these systems will function long term; but then again I suppose most EVs won’t last long term simply because of their batteries aging out.
Also of concern with these more integrated cars is that many of them do “phone-home” over there own dedicated cellular network connection which could be abused by the manufacturer itself or a third party.

There is good reason for using windows 95, prior to windows NT, direct parallel port access could be done through user space applications allowing software to directly control hardware without an abstraction layer (performance sapping driver).

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I came to this thinking when I was pondering on my plans. I thought about buying an older car and tuning it to an EV and having smart controls and such; being the part of what I was thinking off. Would I be using Android Auto on a Tegra Devkit or some Linux on a Risc board; to control the radio, speakers, lights, hydraulics and what not?