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The Development Guidelines for Vehicle Based Software were launched in November 1994. These Guidelines represent the culmination of a three-year automotive industry research project carried out by the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association Consortium with support from the UK government. The intention of the Guidelines is to provide assistance to the automotive industry in the creation and application within vehicle systems of safe and reliable software. The paper examines some of the issues in automotive software that led to the Guidelines being produced. Two of the key topics covered by the Guidelines are also reported.