back to article Lexus cars suffer Purple Screen of Death – code bug turns the air blue

US owners of later-model Lexus cars have had a frustrating day after an over-the-air update left the entertainment and navigation systems locked in a loop of restarts and flashing purple hues. Lexus has blamed "errant data" that was broadcast to some Lexi sold after 2014, causing the system controlling navigation, audio, …

  1. Sebastian A

    Ah yes, the Internet of Things. Now you don't just have to worry about the manufacturer building something poorly, they can break it after the fact without even physically going near it.

  2. Oengus

    Close all of the windows, shut down and restart.

    Isn't that the solution to all "blue (purple) screen of death" issues?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      No, usually when you got any *SOD everything has been already killed and you can only reboot, if it doesn't happen automatically. God the engine still turns... and you don't have to get off the car and restart it...

      1. Known Hero
        Black Helicopters

        Have you reconfigured the primary power couplings ??

        On a car battery that sounds even more awesome !!!

  3. ammabamma
    Angel

    Needs more colours

    > Lexus cars suffer Purple Screen of Death – code bug turns the air blue.

    Consumers see red after yellow company pushes green update to keep balances in the black. Golden opportunity for lawyers...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Complimentary system reset

    Nice way to phrase it. You're also welcome to our dealers' complimentary oxygen and gravity while you wait.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Complimentary system reset

      What's wrong with letting the drivers do a system reset, is a little paperclip hole somewhere near the screen too expensive?

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: Complimentary system reset

        It's because while they say "system reset" what they mean is "dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/dba"

  5. frank ly

    "errant data"

    Oh, the irony of using 'errant' data to update a navigation system.

  6. Yugguy

    And again.

    This is why I don't want external connectivity of this kind.

    I have a W204 C class Merc, internally there is a lot of computerisation, the cruise talks to the engine and brake system, the Comand talks to the instrument cluster, there's brake assist and auto lights and wipers and seat belt tensioners, it can brighten some bulbs when others fail and all sorts of other bollocks.

    But the only way to talk to the internal computerisation is via a physical port. And that's the way I like it.

    When the time comes to change it I'll be investigating how to bork OTA updates on whatever car I buy.

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: And again.

      When time comes to change if you bork the OTA updates the car will probably lock the doors, roll up the windows and drive you to the dealers while the audio system alerts the authorities and plays the terms of your software licence agreement over and over again. Do it a second time and it may be a long drive on quiet country roads with the air control system on recirculate. There will be no third time.

    2. Sargs

      Re: And again.

      I had a garage (main dealer, so not some back-alley bloke who'd probably know better than to mess with it) fluff a firmware upgrade to my car's ECU, bricking the damn thing and leaving me without transport for three days, so not having wireless connectivity is no guarantee of safety.

      The fun part was trying to stop them explaining what firmware was and what updates were, and trying to get them to explain exactly what their update was supposed to do anyway.

  7. Tromos
    Joke

    Quick fix

    Ctrl-Accelerator-Del

  8. JohnnyGStrings

    0xFF00FF

    Ahh good old programmer purple :)

    1. caffeine addict
      Coat

      Re: 0xFF00FF

      Looks more like EF0FFF

  9. caffeine addict

    So, Lexus's kit breaks in a way that leaves a huge purple light flashing on the dashboard? That's going to be fun at night.

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  11. PNGuinn
    Alert

    So what else have they borked that's a little more serious ...

    "Until then, owners of affected vehicles should exercise additional caution when driving."

    ... that they are not telling us about?

    Me - paranoid?

    1. Neil Alexander

      Re: So what else have they borked that's a little more serious ...

      Presumably they mean "don't shout at the infotainment system whilst driving".

    2. swschrad

      round these parts, center console borked, you freeze to death

      maybe the Conifornians don't read the papers, but there are places where if you don't get heat in the car, you freeze. perhaps they should keep all the damn things in Lotus land.

      or, you know, knobs, switches, and sliders. just saying. go full mechanical and promote its safety.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: round these parts, center console borked, you freeze to death

        The beauty of good ol' fashioned knobs is that you can reach over and adjust the HVAC or radio by touch, even on a rough road. With Controls Under Glass ®, you have to devote more attention to make a change.

        Entertainment systems shift over time and I hate the trend carmakers have taken with tying them into cars in ways that make them impossible to replace. I worked with a guy that had a BMW with a built in car phone. The car worked a treat, but the phone has long since been deprecated.

        In engineering we call theses things a Single Point of Failure problems and usually try to add redundancy or at least build things so something like a FM radio going bad doesn't lock up the whole car. People love the Tesla's center mounted display, but if something as trivial as the back light goes out, there is no way to control anything. Let's be honest, they are awarding contracts to build components to the lowest bidder so corners have been lopped off.

  12. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    Lexus "flash motor maker" ?

    Maker? A marketer or seller perhaps. A brand. They're a 'Division' of Toyota, but basically a 'sales and marketing' division if I understand correctly.

    Any diseases infecting Toyota are automatically in Lexus.

    Similar to Lincoln and Ford.

  13. Chemical Bob
    FAIL

    Gee, we never had these problems on the Wonder Bar radios back in the day...

    http://www.kingoftheroad.net/59olds/album/source/59olds221.html

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Gee, we never had these problems on the Wonder Bar radios back in the day...

      http://www.kingoftheroad.net/59olds/album/source/59olds221.html

      I first read that as Wonder Bra radio... somewhat apt I guess given the link to the '59 Olds.

  14. Nostromov

    There's a "Simple solution, buy American" YouTube comment - however, I'm 99% sure that the newest Corvette (just as an example!), one which would be packed with electronics, will have just as many issues - if not moar, meh.

    It's what they do, the manufacturers, benefits are all-around: spare-parts for sale, aftermarket (parts and components) production, creating some jobs and-what-not - only, most of it will come out of our pocket, blah (yes, obviously not - when there's a recall, or something :))

    Anywho, why can't they stop - OK, you make some nice micro-engineered valves & a computer to run 'em and, for example, airbags will no longer kill us in case of an accident, cool; BUT, who the HECK needs lasers to scan the road and those, new, stupid <span class="strike">LED</span> lights (for retards) that auto-adjust according to what's on the road...

    $1000 when something breaks and there are, literally, dozens-upon-dozens of things (cameras, parking sensors and even (!) more, besides the aforementioned) which can malfunction and does stop working - if eventually, or whatever.

    Even more annoyingly, it's Toyota in question and in recent decades they've been (always) pushing their prices up and up, setting ridiculous prices in order to maximize profits - completely defeating the whole purpose of a Japanese car.

    ^^ Wasn't that long ago when we had the cheaper (than the rest) Mitsubishi, Mazda, Honda cars... These days, thanks to the "Yaris", we're paying for their recycled metal almost as much as BMWs cost (which, btw., are also doing God-knows-what in order to stay competitive, heh.)

    AND, ofc., I (really) can't understand WHY anyone would buy a Toyota, Lexus, when there's Opel, Ford, Audi, even several Korean brands and so on and so forth (kinda too many which beat 'em hands-down in terms of price, fuel-economy and just about everything else, to list).

    I guess people must enjoy having to pay $200 for a spare car-tire rim, when they could get the same replacement part, from Ford for example, for -like- $60, or something, blah.

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