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Old 09-24-2008, 12:45 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Black box on board New standards for automotive big brother take effect in 2012




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Until a few weeks ago, Florida attorney Scott Weires was eagerly awaiting delivery of his new Nissan GT-R. But in late August, Weires canceled his order--not because he doesn't want the $82,000 Super Silver supercar he has lusted for since it was first unveiled as a concept seven years ago. Weires says he's uncomfortable with the fact that every GT-R has a recording device strapped to its chassis, an electronic black box that monitors how each owner drives his or her GT-R.

Similar so-called black boxes, or electronic data recorders (EDRs), are now standard equipment in a majority of passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the United States. Wired into airbag sensors, yaw and stability sensors, antilock brake and traction controllers, electronic throttle controls and engine monitors, EDRs soon will collect a bewildering amount of data in keeping with pending federal regulations aimed at standardizing information available from the devices. Those regulations, finalized earlier this year and set to go into effect Sept. 1, 2012 (on 2013-model-year vehicles), specify exactly how much and what types of information must be collected and saved electronically in the event of a crash or airbag deployment.

Though the U.S. Department of Trans-portation requirements don't mandate installation of EDRs on every car, truck and sport-utility vehicle in America, the rules do require compliance with the guidelines if the vehicle is fitted with an EDR by the manufacturer. In 2006, the National High-way Traffic Safety Administration reported that 64 percent of manufacturers were equipping vehicles with EDRs, a number the agency says hasn't radically changed. But an informal survey indicates that most automakers--with some notable exceptions--are embracing the devices. And that number seems to have grown in the four years since AutoWeek last investigated the state of automotive black boxes ("Under the Hood, with Big Brother," Nov. 8, 2004).

As a result, most of today's late-model vehicles are equipped with EDRs, ostensibly to help manufacturers engineer better safety equipment in vehicles by analyzing data collected in crashes. In reality, what started as a simple tool for safety engineers is now a key component that provides data to protect companies from safety-related lawsuits and to assist law-enforcement officials investigating car accidents.

While an EDR may seem onerous enough to those who love a spirited drive in a sports car, it was another kind of black box, a vehicle status data recorder (VSDR), that put Weires at odds with Nissan and his GT-R.

Unlike an EDR, which activates only when sensors indicate that a crash is imminent or has occurred, Nissan's VSDR runs constantly, collecting information such as wheel and engine speed. The device, thought to be a first in the automotive industry, stores more than a few days' but less than a week's worth of data on the vehicle's operation, Nissan says. The VSDR cannot be deactivated.

In technical information provided to buyers, Nissan says the VSDR does not record sounds or images but "always records and stores vehicle-operating data between periodic inspections, which can assist and be used for servicing, diagnosing and performing warranty repairs."

"It's always running," said Ed Hibma, senior manager for technical support with Nissan North America.


Bloombergconsulting.com

This kind of accident-investigation scene, tapping into the car's EDR and downloading crash-related data to a laptop computer, will become far more prevalent as black boxes proliferate in 2012 and beyond.
Nissan says the VSDR isn't intended to spy on unsuspecting GT-R drivers but is needed to help mechanics and engineers monitor the performance of various onboard systems in the highly advanced car.

It's that part about "warranty repairs" that has Weires worried. He says data collected by the VSDR could allow Nissan arbitrarily to invalidate all or part of the car's warranty. For instance, Nissan specifically warns owners that they could void warranty protection by running a car with its vehicle dynamic control (VDC), governing traction and stability, turned off. (In fairness to Nissan, the owner's manual does allow owners to defeat VDC when wheelspin is needed to rock a car that's stuck in snow or mud.)

"These warranty issues are a little unsettling," said Weires. "That was a huge part of my decision."

Nissan officials are quick to clarify that VSDR data would be used only as a secondary way to verify that a car had been abused or raced. And only the damaged part might not be covered by warranty; a record of hard use wouldn't invalidate the warranty for the entire car.

"We don't say you can't drive your car in high-performance situations," said Hibma. "We do realize that some customers will take their car to the track for all-out driving. But racing is different."

Ironically, Nissan and other Japanese automakers now rapidly implementing EDR technology had been cautious and slow to adopt the devices a few years ago. Four years ago, Nissan expressed no interest in EDRs or other recording devices, using sensors merely to deploy airbags and to record airbag and seatbelt status in a crash. At that time, no speed or g-force detail was preserved by any recording device on any Nissan vehicle.

Today, every 2009 Nissan sold in the United States is fitted with an EDR, and along with nearly every automaker selling EDR-equipped vehicles, Nissan re-cords or will be able to record the 30 data points that the federal government will require of all EDR-equipped vehicles by 2012.

U.S. automakers remain at the forefront of EDR proliferation, which isn't surprising given that General Motors pioneered EDRs in race cars in the 1970s and '80s and installed the first rudimentary black-box recorders in passenger cars in its 2000-model-year vehicles. GM vehicles equipped with OnStar tap into onboard black boxes to diagnose operating systems. With the owner's permission, OnStar will use that data to notify the owner of pending service needs.

German makers tend to avoid EDRs, partly because strict German privacy laws limit the use of such recording devices and partly because the companies tend to view EDRs as having questionable value for customers.

"We have not viewed that feature as necessary or beneficial for the brand or our customers," explained Rob Moran, a spokesman for the U.S. arm of German automaker Mercedes-Benz.

Cost-conscious Korean companies such as Kia and Hyundai haven't installed EDRs, instead using sensors to deploy airbags but skipping the added cost and complexity of EDRs.

What's the state of the art? EDRs in today's cars begin recording data as early as five seconds before a crash, and they save information such as vehicle speed, throttle position, engine speed, brake action, whether stability control was on or off, steering input and whether antilock brakes worked. At the time of a crash and immediately after, other data are added, including change in vehicle velocity, seatbelt use, airbag status and how the airbags performed in the accident. Some data also are recorded for as long as five seconds after an initial crash, including secondary impacts and vehicle roll angle.

All data recorded by the EDR technically are owned by the vehicle owner or lessee, but every manufacturer has adopted a variation of a policy spelled out in most owner's manuals that says data will be released only with the permission of the owner or under court order to third parties and law-enforcement officers. Safety agencies also may have access to the data with vehicle owners' permission.

Although NHTSA's policymaking led to an industry standard for EDR data collection, which will allow far wider use of the gathered information, the agency did nothing to place additional restraints on the use of the information. Instead, the agency cited federal privacy statutes that it says will guide its use of the data, preventing NHTSA from releasing information that could identify specific individuals involved in a crash.

But Jim Baxter, president of the watchdog National Motorists Association, noted that this does nothing to constrain law-enforcement accident investigators, private eyes and other interested parties-such as manufacturers and insurance companies-from getting a court order to download the information.

"NHTSA did issue a rule that the units must generate specific information," Baxter said, "but that doesn't prevent them from collecting more information. There's pretty much no limit on what they can collect."

Baxter said his group's efforts to push federal legislation to protect motorists against EDRs fell on deaf ears, especially now, with Americans more than willing to give up privacy in favor of safety after Sept. 11, 2001. "The general mentality is, 'If I get some benefit, here's my information,'" Baxter said. "Obviously, some quarters object, but I don't see widespread resistance to it."

Baxter said he believes objections won't grow until tiny RFIDs--radio frequency identification devices--are more prevalent and are used by private or public entities to monitor individual travel. RFIDs could theoretically allow a parent to track a teen, an insurer to watch for high-risk driving or law-enforcement officials to track a person driving from point A to point B, compute the speed and issue a speeding ticket without so much as starting a patrol car or turning on a radar gun.

"When people can't go down to the grocery store without getting a citation, then we'll see a reaction," Baxter predicted.

Before that brave new world arrives, auto companies will have to quell the immediate fears of customers such as Weires, who would love to be driving a new GT-R right now.

Weires says he'll wait and see how Nissan handles the data recorded by the GT-R black box, and then maybe he'll get back in line for his dream car. Maybe.
http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dl...809189970/1065
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:53 PM   #2
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scarry but I think that just like with everything there will be a way of dissabling the thing.
Also the box may get accidentally "damaged" and won't record/transmit data anymore
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
scarry but I think that just like with everything there will be a way of dissabling the thing.
Also the box may get accidentally "damaged" and won't record/transmit data anymore

I'm not sure how it is now, but with time, cost cutting, and integration we will see the ECU and the 'black box' become the same device. Won't be a way to switch it off other than a 'hack and flash'.
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:56 PM   #4
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lol this is old news. Cars have been able to log things during an accident for a long time now. You actually have all the right not to release that info since it's your property. However alot of people sign-off on that with their insurance companies for a lower price without knowing what it really is.
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
scarry but I think that just like with everything there will be a way of dissabling the thing.
Also the box may get accidentally "damaged" and won't record/transmit data anymore
yeah good luck..don't think you'll outsmart nissan..i guarantee if the box gets 'damaged' the car won't be running lol
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:59 PM   #6
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hydra...

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Old 09-24-2008, 07:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by doylfish View Post
yeah good luck..don't think you'll outsmart nissan..i guarantee if the box gets 'damaged' the car won't be running lol
they also said the ecu couldn't be cracked and it took amuse what, a week?
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:19 PM   #8
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Things are really starting to smack of Minority Report right now....soon you won't be able to take a piss without someone knowing it. How do these rules and laws get passed without anyone knowing it? Seems to me if people really knew about these things, they'd be voting with their wallets en masse. Anyone know where Subaru stands with this? Is my beloved 2002 WRX safe from this madness?
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:27 PM   #9
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Would like to see what the boxs on these say .

http://www.gtrblog.com/index.php/200...livery-?blog=4
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (.)(.)man View Post
Would like to see what the boxs on these say .

http://www.gtrblog.com/index.php/200...livery-?blog=4
Great comments on that blog entry.
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:59 AM   #11
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Kudos to Scott Weires for standing by his convictions.

That being said, I don't think a data recorder would deter a majority of car buyers out there. If you are at fault for an accident then you ought not need the threat of a black box to do the decent thing and take responsibility. If you are not at fault, then you have a little black box of data you can release to your insurance company to aid in your claim.

I see the average consumer being either totally indifferent or slightly in favor of these; especially since most people think it is 'the other guy's' fault in accidents. Consider how many people identify themselves as good (or above average) drivers as opposed to a bad driver.

Fear of having your warranty voided for what may be deemed as abnormal/hard use is probably a more valid concern since 'abnormal' use is somewhat speculative. Though, the sense of fairness in me likes the fact that this may limit the number of my consumer dollars that pay for repairs on someone else's warranty-backed weekend dragster (or whatever).
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:49 AM   #12
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The use of black boxes is sad. Owners of vehicles usually do not own the data within these boxes, they can be gotten by the courts, on behalf of all sorts of folks. I do agree they will not be defeated, or if they are, it won't be for long, and their disablement would only be used against you.
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:52 AM   #13
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I'll get whatever flash is needed to kill something like this, especially with RFID, not having one of those on my car.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:27 PM   #14
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This is ridiculous. F buying new cars (in a few years).
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:58 PM   #15
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Sorry to reserect an old thread, but I have a few questions.

Do modern Subaru's have Event Data Recorders (EDRs) installed?
Or is Subaru waiting for the mandatory MY2013 to install them?
How much and what data do they record if EDRs are currently installed in Subaru's?
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:05 PM   #16
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These have been around since the C5 Corvette. My friend with a C6 logged almost 200mph, the techs thought it was funny/cool. It's not like you are going to receive speeding/wreckless tickets with the ecus.
It will be good to see if a car has been in a wreck, even if it doesn't have a salvage title if the crash sensors are recorded.

Nick
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Old 02-26-2010, 04:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EtoS View Post
lol this is old news. Cars have been able to log things during an accident for a long time now. You actually have all the right not to release that info since it's your property. However alot of people sign-off on that with their insurance companies for a lower price without knowing what it really is.
It isn't new tech, it is a new mandate that ALL CARS HAVE IT.

And you had better believe that if they mandate it, they will mandate that it be un-defeatable... if you disconnect it, your car won't start. Whether it is inside the ECU box, or whether it is a separate component... it won't matter. No check signal, no start.

I will not buy a car with a nanny built into it. If I own the car, I own everything in it, including the data on how it is used. It is a principle matter of privacy and freedom.

But at least now I know that I can't buy a car newer than 2012, and several cars much earlier than that.

Screw this noise... I am gonna keep buying and running SVXs, Z32 300ZX Nissans, Porsche 944 Turbos, and stuff like that until they completely run out.

frakkin' nanny state bull-pucky. It is getting harder not to swear at this kind of stuff.

If the government can mandate inclusion, later on, they can mandate reporting. They can mandate automated enforcement, mileage taxes, GPS monitoring through junk like OwnStar.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:37 PM   #18
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Seems Subaru has had EDRs in-place since 2005 on all their vehicles.

http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/edr.html
Quote:
What vehicles have EDRs? NHTSA estimated that about 64 percent of 2005 model passenger vehicles had the devices. By 2005, General Motors, Ford, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Suzuki were all voluntarily equipping all of their vehicles with EDRs, according to NHTSA.2 Recent information from vehicle manufacturers indicates that all new passenger vehicles have EDRs, although those EDRs may not include all of the data elements specified in the NHTSA rule.
Still can't find exactly what data and how much is recorded.
Anyone have any insight?
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White out View Post
These have been around since the C5 Corvette. My friend with a C6 logged almost 200mph, the techs thought it was funny/cool. It's not like you are going to receive speeding/wreckless tickets with the ecus.
It will be good to see if a car has been in a wreck, even if it doesn't have a salvage title if the crash sensors are recorded.

Nick
Wait until they can give you tickets based of the EDR. Just think it could just send out a signal to cops telling them that you are speeding or not wearing a seat belt. Its not too different than speed camera's or red light camera's.
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:57 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by registering View Post
The use of black boxes is sad. Owners of vehicles usually do not own the data within these boxes, they can be gotten by the courts, on behalf of all sorts of folks. I do agree they will not be defeated, or if they are, it won't be for long, and their disablement would only be used against you.
There is always a way of disabling any system. Thik about the home alarms or other security devices that are notorious for hacking into. It's all about figurning out what electronic signal needs to be immitated and then finding a way to immitate it from a different source.
I will never let anyone track what I'm doing in my car.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:15 PM   #21
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^^ agreed. for example, how I'm wiring my ecu from my car to read the emissions system and pass it, along with it still showing it IS my car, while I'll have a standalone running the actual engine.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:21 PM   #22
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The main worry here isn't the EDR, it's how Nissan's using the VSDR. If you've been tracking the GTR scene, Nissan's already boned quite a few European and American customers who have had issues with their high-performance vehicles that they AREN'T being allowed to drive in a high performance manner.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:22 PM   #23
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something to do with launch control, right?
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:36 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by mikebontoft View Post
something to do with launch control, right?
For now, yes. In the future, they could claim any type of high performance driving to void the warranty on any part of the car. Claiming stress from circumstances the car was not design for.

Blown strut? You'll be damn sure they are scouring that box for lateral g data.
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:01 PM   #25
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Wait until they can give you tickets based of the EDR. Just think it could just send out a signal to cops telling them that you are speeding or not wearing a seat belt. Its not too different than speed camera's or red light camera's.
There would be a HUGE infrastructure required for that idea. Not going to happen, the cost would be far too high for the benefit.

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