New Modes of Failure
Toyota's automobile problems carry some interesting lessons for naval and other defense systems. Apparently it and other car manufacturers have quietly been moving from mechanical connections to what might be called drive-by-wire, analogous to the fly-by-wire technology common in recent aircraft. In such systems, the operator senses that moving the controls (in a car, the steering wheel) directly moves other parts (the front wheels). In fact, the control movement sends signals to a computer, which in turn controls electric motors that move, in this case, the front wheels. This seems unnecessarily complicated, but it offers considerable advantages, and is a bridge to further advances.