By Jakob Engblom
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a deep report into last year's issue with "unintended acceleration" on certain Toyota cars. They actually employed a team from NASA who analyzed the throttle control software using a wide range of cutting-edge tools. Reading their report gives a good idea for how embedded control software is developed, and the challenges inherent in validating it.
The conclusion is that the software is not a likely cause of the problems. The real meat of the report (and its appendixes) is just how this conclusions is reached, and what it says about the tools that could be applied to develop embedded software with greater confidence about its correctness.