In DevOps: Rapid Feedback, Rapid Repair
I’m sure you have seen it too. Chevy cars now come with wi-fi. How cool. I want that (and so would my kids). I can only imagine the possibilities.
But, this is not all about my needs. Chevy and every other vehicle maker wants this too. And not for the reasons that you might first consider. Quickly, let me introduce you to the recalls of today:
- Fiat recalls cars for software that causes stalls (April 2015)
- 200K Jeeps recalled for software updates (February 2015)
- Audi recalls 200K vehicles for software glitch (Oct 2014)
The glitches were related to cars losing power, erroneously deploying airbags, and other defects. This is just a small glimpse of the software recalls that have happened over the past year.
But more troubling is this form of software “recall” from BMW showing a security flaw that could allow cyber criminals to unlock doors on 2.1M vehicles. Because every one of the 2.1M vehicles has the same defective software part, criminals effectively had access to a skeleton key to every one of them.
In DevOps: Rule Your Supply Chain
The reality is, that your new car has more software in it than you can image — about 100 million lines of code. And, as we know, all software has flaws. But who wants to go to a dealer to get a software update? If my car can connect to the internet and update itself, that would save me an unscheduled trip to the dealer for a repair.
While software updates to cars models in the past were would take 5 years to feed themselves onto the production line, that is now all changing. For decades, large automakers like Toyota have been applying excellent management process for their entire supply chain. And with the introduction of wi-fi in vehicles, they are expanding their highly-tuned practices to include their software supply chains. They know where every piece and version of their software is and who owns it. If a flaw is detected (be it quality, safety, security, or another attribute), they will now be able to automatically update that vehicle. Not only can they remove defects, automakers like Telsa are even making their cars faster.
While many of us outside the auto industry think of these large industrialists as slow moving organizations, the introduction of wi-fi in cars is allowing them to now apply a core principle from the agile manifesto: “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software”.
In DevOps: Version Everything
For those of you in the software industry, this kind of evolution is at the heart of many DevOps and continuous delivery efforts. Automate everything you can. Version everything you can. Deliver fast, improve visibility, and change fast. In many ways, the addition of 4G LTE Wi-Fi in Chevy Trucks means that DevOps has entered into our auto and software supply chains.
If you imagine an even broader perspective of this wi-fi feature and software supply chain management, the auto makers are now leading the way to expectations of quality improvements in the Internet of Things (IoT). There is not much difference between an internet enabled truck, thermostat or fitness bracelet when it comes to rapidly improving and updating quality, features, performance, etc. (I’ll cover this topic more in future posts.)
In DevOps: Optimize Your Software Supply Chain
What have the auto makers learned from the software industry? And perhaps more importantly — when it comes to software supply chain management and continuous delivery — what can we learn from them?
A final note on software and auto safety: I am the Cavalry (@iamthecavalry) is encouraging the automotive industry to commit to cyber safety. The movement recently published a Five Star Automotive Cyber Safety Framework (PDF download) and calls for Automotive Industry adoption. Media outlets from across the US and Europe praised the effort and joined in calling for automakers and security researchers to work together to ensure a safe future.