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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two things happened over this week that have sealed my order for a 2018 Quad.
First, I spent some much-needed time drinking with my best friend who happens to be a genius software guy. He delivered a product for a customer last year that required 300,000 lines of code. He figures this is in the ballpark of the number of lines required for an average car. I made the leap that cars like the giulia likely have more. He states that an elite team of programmers would expect 265 errors to surface in the first year of any product. 5% of these will be major. An above average team should expect 1500 errors per 300,000 lines in first year. He points out that - most likely - car companies put elite folks on safety systems, and spend less on nav/infotainment stuff. With respect to an entirely new platform, Alfa is doing ok. Most of the issues have a good chance of shaking out in a year or so.
Second, I truly believe that any experience is colored and shaped by the front line people. Our dealer in Albuquerque has already gone above and beyond for me during this process. Today the general manager called with the phone number of our regional tech (Phoenix). I called Jeff, and he was very kind in answering my questions. He states that most of the software updates have resolved significant problems, but most importantly, he encouraged me to stay in touch and use his phone or email if I have ?'s. in addition he stated that the Melloy family who owns this dealership has always been quick to respond to any problems. So I feel like I have a really good situation to deal with any issues.
One funny aside: I mentioned the car and driver remote start issue, and he was frustrated because the update for that was available before the delivery of the car to the magazine----Alfa forgot to update it. :surprise:
I'm not sure if this helps anyone else who is on the fence, but it has helped me make a final decision.
Also, thanks Alfaholico for the nice PM!
 

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Two things happened over this week that have sealed my order for a 2018 Quad.
First, I spent some much-needed time drinking with my best friend who happens to be a genius software guy. He delivered a product for a customer last year that required 300,000 lines of code. He figures this is in the ballpark of the number of lines required for an average car. I made the leap that cars like the giulia likely have more. He states that an elite team of programmers would expect 265 errors to surface in the first year of any product. 5% of these will be major. An above average team should expect 1500 errors per 300,000 lines in first year. He points out that - most likely - car companies put elite folks on safety systems, and spend less on nav/infotainment stuff. With respect to an entirely new platform, Alfa is doing ok. Most of the issues have a good chance of shaking out in a year or so.
Second, I truly believe that any experience is colored and shaped by the front line people. Our dealer in Albuquerque has already gone above and beyond for me during this process. Today the general manager called with the phone number of our regional tech (Phoenix). I called Jeff, and he was very kind in answering my questions. He states that most of the software updates have resolved significant problems, but most importantly, he encouraged me to stay in touch and use his phone or email if I have ?'s. in addition he stated that the Melloy family who owns this dealership has always been quick to respond to any problems. So I feel like I have a really good situation to deal with any issues.
One funny aside: I mentioned the car and driver remote start issue, and he was frustrated because the update for that was available before the delivery of the car to the magazine----Alfa forgot to update it. :surprise:
I'm not sure if this helps anyone else who is on the fence, but it has helped me make a final decision.
Also, thanks Alfaholico for the nice PM!
Much love.....D
 

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So many components have software associated with them. And then it all has to work together. Quite a challenge, I'd say. Still, we rely on manufacturers and their suppliers to get it right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Aye carumba. Thanks for clearing that up. 2 things:
1) Software genius =/ car guy
B) I am NO software genius :confused:
 

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This is mind boggling. I give much respect to today's auto technicians. They have to be multifaceted to work effectively on these cars.

And to think, my 74 GTV had zero lines of code and still a joy to drive (the aftermarket radio had more code than the whole car!)

(And my iPhone has more code than the entire Apollo space program).
 

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I'm not sure what it is that you find encouraging. I spent 38 years in the IT business and can attest to the fact that huge coding projects will initially have issue. However testing, simulation, and validation should eliminate virtually all the issues with the code if the developing organization has the desire and resources to do so. but that's only the start of the process, it's gotta be packaged, shipped, installed, and verified.

Air craft manufactures understand what it takes to develop, validate and maintain software.
Alfa..... not so much maybe??

Paul
 

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This is mind boggling. I give much respect to today's auto technicians. They have to be multifaceted to work effectively on these cars.

And to think, my 74 GTV had zero lines of code and still a joy to drive (the aftermarket radio had more code than the whole car!)

(And my iPhone has more code than the entire Apollo space program).
ahhh yes...the only issue now for these cars is being able to find a mechanic who knows how to dial in a weber or dell'orto carb:grin2:
I'm lucky enough to have one very close...in fact he won't even LOOK at my Quad:wink2:
 

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This is mind boggling. I give much respect to today's auto technicians. They have to be multifaceted to work effectively on these cars.
The best ones, maybe. Most just plug in the tools they are given or look things up on a screen and then replace parts. Heaven forbid any techs try to modify code.
 
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In terms of total number of lines (a nasty metric), Alfa won't write the vast majority of the code. Most of it is bought in from suppliers, and most of that is neither new nor bespoke. The same applies within those modules themselves. You would hope so too otherwise every car would be a novel endeavour with all the disasters that that entails.

Safety critical software, like brake-by-wire controllers, are written in a particular way using particular methodologies. The infotainment system, probably not so much.

What Alfa do, if indeed they do it rather than outsourcing this too, is the top level 'systems integration' - making all those bits work together and work together with the mechanical and electrical components of the car.

As Chipshot says, when it comes to diagnosis, we are talking about hooking up to an interface that abstracts, aggregates and represents all this stuff, not getting into code.
 

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Good on ya Chanosh. And maybe "enlightened" is more on point than "encouraged." Even with manufacturing and mechanical things like the headlight washer cover, it takes time to sort things out. Yes it should be done before release but everybody gets hyper in the modern business world and puts everything else in the backseat, except "new" and "first." Just look at the smart phone wars and operating systems. God help us.

And yes, coding is a massive and exponential challenge. As a librarian and info pro, I have written html pages, xml, and other database code for flight and racing simulators. Plenty of room for error. The Ford GT may have more code than an F-22, but the Raptor processes massive amounts of targeting information over encrypted, remote radar and other sensor networks. Usually via AWAC and so on. At the time it first entered production (finally) it had the processing power of several Cray computers. It's fly by wire just like the F-16s and later. Now we have throttle, brake, suspension, and shift by wire. Fly by wire technology was developed in the 70s on the YF-4E.

http://aviationarchives.blogspot.com/2015/02/yf-4e-62-12200-fly-by-wire.html
 

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In terms of total number of lines (a nasty metric), Alfa won't write the vast majority of the code. Most of it is bought in from suppliers, and most of that is neither new nor bespoke. The same applies within those modules themselves. You would hope so too otherwise every car would be a novel endeavour with all the disasters that that entails.

Safety critical software, like brake-by-wire controllers, are written in a particular way using particular methodologies. The infotainment system, probably not so much.

What Alfa do, if indeed they do it rather than outsourcing this too, is the top level 'systems integration' - making all those bits work together and work together with the mechanical and electrical components of the car.

As Chipshot says, when it comes to diagnosis, we are talking about hooking up to an interface that abstracts, aggregates and represents all this stuff, not getting into code.
I agree, most of the code was not developed by Alfa and is probably not under Alfa's control. Software quality control can range from practically none to very stringent. Project managers almost always will say "I understand that strict validation of the code will produce a high quality product faster, so skip all of that and get it done as quickly as possible". It's like something straight out of a Dilbert cartoon.

Even super strict testing of software and hardware has its limitations. It is possible to "prove" that the code that tells the muffler bypass to open works all of the time, somewhat more difficult to prove that the code that calls the code to tell the muffler bypass to open works all of the time, and really difficult to prove that the code that decides if the muffler bypass needs to be opened because condition XYZ inside the engine has been reached is working right or even that the specification that it is following is right. Layers upon layers upon layers of code and specifications.

It gets worse when human interfaces are involved. Humans are so unpredictable... they don't read the manual and push sequences of buttons that nobody planned for. They might even push the brake and accelerator at the same time intensionally. :surprise:
 
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