Innovation

Audi's software snafu highlights critical need for better QA in all industries

The automaker was forced to push the release of its electric SUV by four weeks after failing to gain regulatory clearance for software modified during the development process.

Car manufacturer Audi was forced to delay the release of its first electric SUV four weeks later than planned due to a software development issue, Reuters reported this week. The German automaker failed to gain regulatory clearance for a piece of software that was changed during the development process, the report noted.

The car—called the e-tron—is meant to expand the market for premium electric vehicles, and compete with Tesla, Reuters reported. However, actual delivery of the cars could now be delayed by several months. Another contributing factor to the delay is that Audi is currently undergoing price negotiations with its electric vehicle battery supplier LG Chem, which wants to raise prices by 10% due to increasing demand, the report said.

SEE: Job description: Quality assurance engineer (Tech Pro Research)

Traditionally, automakers were hardware-only companies. However, with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and more technology being embedded into cars, software is now a critical part of the auto business as well. Especially considering the many cybersecurity concerns that car software can present, automakers like Audi must ensure that they are taking all necessary steps in the software development process, including building in security measures from the start.

The incident also highlights how every company is now a software company to some degree—even car makers—and therefore, needs a protocol for quality assurance (QA). Hiring a QA engineer may be a good move to ensure that this work is done during the development cycle, and could help limit the release of bad software, or software that doesn't meet regulatory requirements.

It's likely that QA engineers will be in increasing demand in the coming years, thanks to the deepening integration of software in nearly every industry. The QA manager job came in at no. 10 on Glassdoor's 2018 Best Jobs in America list, with 1,741 openings across the US and a median base salary of $92,000.

To learn more about how your company's product team can improve QA testing, click here.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Audi had to delay the release of its new electric SUV by four weeks after failing to gain regulatory clearance for software modified during the development process.
  • The incident highlights the fact that every company must become a software company to some degree, and ensure proper QA is met.

Also see

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Image: Audi

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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