On March 10, 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed on its way to Kenya. There were 149 passengers and 8 crew members on board, none of whom survived. On October 29, 2018, Indonesian Lion Airlines Boeing 737 Max crashed, killing 189 people. After two fatal crashes, Boeing 737 Max was shut down by major airlines around the world.
In retrospect of Boeing 737 Max’s two fatal flights, an automatic correction stall system called MCAS with an auto-controlled depressor nose has received the greatest criticism and is considered one of the suspects responsible for the two air crashes. What caused a well-designed aircraft manufacturer to make basic software errors that led to two fatal accidents?
Recently, some media reported that Boeing 737MAX software was partly packaged to graduates of Indian universities for an hourly salary of only $9, which sparked a heated discussion on the Internet.
Reported that the iconic American aircraft manufacturer and its subcontractors are increasingly relying on temporary workers to develop and test software. These temporary workers are paid as little as $9 an hour, not only that, but they often lack professional background in aviation, especially in India.
Boeing issued 1,000 layoffs in 2010, mostly in the IT sector. The company had 158,500 employees, including 18,000 engineers and technicians, but they planned to cut 10,000 jobs. A former Boeing software engineer said in 2015 that companies would cut spending by cutting 90% of their skilled trained employees and replacing them with outsourcing.
Software outsourcing is a process that requires a high degree of collaboration between the outsourcer and the contractor. The long service cycle and many variable factors make the company face great risks in the process of software outsourcing. And most of the codes written by outsourcers have many serious problems, such as adaptation problems, poor scalability, poor code quality, lack of testing and so on.
As a commercial company, cost reduction control for the sake of cost should be normal behavior, but if for the sake of pure benefit maximization, aircraft software with such high security requirements should sacrifice product quality, even at the expense of users’lives.
I want to ask these capitalists, do you have the trust of users? Can we afford the families of those passengers who lost their lives?