The more things change, the more they stay the same. Gone are the days of Windows 95; heading into the year 2024, there’s an entirely new “blue screen of death” people apparently need to be watching out for – in their cars.
This week a photo went viral on social media purporting to show a Ford vehicle displaying a “your vehicle cannot be driven” message after a failed software update. “Please call customer support,” the screen urges.
Owning a car is about to get *really* weird.
Ford might be first but won’t be the last. pic.twitter.com/WSgOoMx0hj
— Car Dealership Guy (@GuyDealership) December 26, 2023
A post on one car enthusiast forum questioned the authenticity of the screenshot, stating: “This is going around on Twitter, but I couldn’t find any mentions of it here.
Is this even real? The phone number, when Googled doesn’t turn up anything official.”
One person responded: “That’s the message you will see on the rare occasion that an OTA fails. It’s a special customer service phone number for dealing with failed OTAs. It’s from a user on Reddit, his car has since been fixed and is back to normal FYI.”
“If an OTA update fails in such a way that this screen would be necessary, they should automatically revert to the last working state and notify the user,” another user posted in response.
“This is essentially a solved problem in the world of computing. I’m sure there’s some wrinkles that make it difficult, but it’s fundamentally something that they should change their systems to make it impossible,” they said.
In response, another shared issues they were having with Ford’s OTA updates, stating: “I’m still dealing with a failed OTA update. My 6.2.0 was incomplete. Called Ford Motor Company and they confirmed the failed update and stated the update would try again within 30 days. 60 days later, with no update, they sent me to a dealer for service.”
The nightmare continued: “Dealer claimed to have updated the software. My car was delivered to my home and nothing was fixed. In fact, my software reverted to 4.2.1. Now my service manager has no idea what to do. I can’t change drive modes, open trunk or frunk, and pre-collision warning turns on all the time. I can still drive but with limited capability. Feels like a car with a sprained ankle.”
Another mechanics forum user posted a photo of the picture with the comment: “I sort of hope this is a fake, but if it hasn’t happened yet, I presume some day it would. The old joke used to be that if Microsoft made cars, every once in a while they would just quit. Everyone would have to get out, walk 360 degrees around the car and get back in. This would be accepted as normal.”
Here’s an explanation from YouTube:
Fri, 12/29/2023 – 22:00