Mazda’s infotainment systems shut down after listening to a radio station in Seattle

Mazda and radio station in Seattle
Written by Emma Davis

A very strange case is dealt with by Mazda engineers and the management of the NPR radio station, KUOW, which broadcasts in Seattle at a frequency of 94.9 FM. The fact is that in Mazda cars produced from 2014 to 2017 and tuned to this local radio station, infotainment systems massively fail.

The Seattle Times reports that the problem began to surface in late January, when many Mazda owners found that their infotainment systems were out of order: screens dimmed, functions such as Bluetooth, navigation, clock and car statistics stopped working, and radios stopped working. stuck at 94.9 FM. Worse, the system kept rebooting constantly, forcing some car owners to cover up the constantly flashing screens with cardboard.

When the victims began contacting local dealers, they were informed that the CMU (Connectivity Master Unit), which controls the video and audio signals of the infotainment system, had failed and needed to be replaced. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that a new CMU costs $1,500, and it is not so easy to replace it – due to supply problems, the part will have to wait for unknown time.

At present, Mazda has already sent out an alert to dealers and ordered them to repair the affected vehicles free of charge as soon as the necessary parts arrive.the automaker said.

When users began to share their concerns on Reddit, it turned out that all the victims were listeners of NPR, KUOW. Employees of dealerships also drew attention to this fact. However, it was still unclear how a simple radio signal could affect the software of 2014-2017 Mazda vehicles. Even the management of the radio station itself was perplexed, at first completely suggesting that the failures could be associated with the transition of mobile operators to 5G: supposedly, many cars are still equipped only with 3G and therefore fail.

In fact, the problem has nothing to do with 5G. Mazda engineers told the media that they are already investigating the situation and, according to them, the root of the problem is HD Radio technology, owned by Xperi Holding Corporation, which allows transmitting via radio, for example, album covers, logos and other images. The fact is that the radio stations broadcast via HD Radio image files that did not have extensions, and the infotainment systems of cars of the listed years must “know” the file extension. Otherwise, trying to process such a file without an extension can send them into an endless reload.

Currently, Xperi specialists are also working on a solution to the problem and promise to fix everything “as soon as possible”.

You might also be interested to read that Volkswagen reports data breach affecting over 3.3 million Audi owners, and that Cyberattack disrupted operation of gas stations across Iran.

User Review
0 (0 votes)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

About the author

Emma Davis

I'm writer and content manager (a short time ago completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Gustavus Adolphus College). For now, I have a deep drive to study cyber security.

Leave a Reply