BUGSENG Presentation @ Automotive S/W 2014
On October 30th, 2014, Roberto Bagnara, CEO/CTO of BUGSENG, will give a presentation at the 12th Workshop on Automotive Software & Systems. The presentation is titled “On the Toyota SUA Case and the Redefinition of Product Liability for Embedded Software”.
Abstract: In October 2013, an Oklahoma jury found Toyota Motor Corp. liable for a crash in 2007 that left one woman dead and another seriously injured when a Camry suddenly accelerated. The jury awarded 3 million USD in compensatory damages to the victims. The jury also decided that Toyota acted with "reckless disregard" for the rights of others, paving the way for a second phase of the trial on punitive damages. Before the jury could decide on damages, Toyota settled this case as well as many other outstanding sudden-acceleration cases. The likely reason for the quick settlement was the expert testimony of Michael Barr - an embedded software systems' expert - who had been asked by the jury to examine the source code of Toyota's engine-control system. He found many extremely serious problems, both with the system's design and with the software, all of them indicating inadequate engineering practice. This event marked a turning point in the definition of product liability for embedded software, in particular in the automotive sector, with potential consequences across the entire supply chain. In this presentation, we briefly reconstruct the case, summarizing the software analysis findings that were decisive in the Oklahoma jury determinations, and showing how these facts indicate a major change in the industry. We also discuss some of the potential short- and mid-term consequences of such a change.