At the same time that Tesla is defending itself from drivers who are trying to claim that its sophisticated self-driving features are causing them to lose control and barrel off the road, Lexus is learning that, sometimes, the connected car can be more of a headache than strictly mechanical vehicles ever were.
An indeterminate number of Lexus owners climbed behind the wheels of their luxury vehicles on Wednesday (June 8) to find that their navigation and dashboard infotainment systems no longer worked, The Verge reported. Music and climate control functions were affected as a result of an attempted scheduled update that bricked the systems, and Lexus is claiming that faulty data sent over the air is the most likely culprit.
"Errant data broadcast by our traffic and weather data service provider was not handled as expected," Lexus said in a statement. "The data suspected to be the source of the error was corrected last night."
As Lexus and its parent company, Toyota, whose 2016 Land Cruiser model was also affected by the glitch, spun into damage control mode, they quickly came up with a suggested fix for the bricked systems: Drive on over to the nearest dealership, and let it perform a "complimentary system reset" that would get everything back online. However, The Verge has unconfirmed reports of drivers taking the matter into their own hands and disconnecting the battery for 30 seconds to achieve the same effect.
While this may seem like an isolated incident now, the growing number of connected systems within cars could make glitched systems as common as check engine lights once the vehicles penetrate the market.
"There are typically more lines of code in a car than an aircraft, and you only have to get one part wrong for it to cause these types of problems," David Bailey, professor at the Aston Business School, told the BBC.