• May 31, 2010
When word first came down that Congress was looking to mandate that all new vehicles to be sold with Event Data Recorders, we knew that the added tech was going to be pricey. According to Automotive News, if legislators have their way, the new automotive black boxes will need to be both fire resistant and waterproof. Add in a significant amount of recording time before and after an accident, and suddenly the price tag per unit could soar up to a lofty $4,000 to $5,000. Currently, the EDRs track about five seconds worth of information just before an accident, though some legislators are pushing for up to 75 seconds of recording pre-crash. Between the fire insulation and added recording time, analysts believe the devices will swell to shoebox size, also creating a new packaging issue for automakers.
And who's going to be shelling out the cash for the indestructible, mammoth recorders? The short answer is the automakers, though you can bet they won't just be soaking up the cost out of the goodness of their hearts. Odds are that $4,000-per-box price tag will be passed right along to consumers if such devices become law, so don't be surprised to see sticker prices climb if the boxes become mandatory in 2015.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 99 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      such device should cost to produce maximum $100 in conventional casing and more for protective casing, but not ~$4000-$5000

      i've seen on ebay similar EDR for $120 retail
      some Infinity cars are using such EDR's already
      • 4 Years Ago
      There is nothing they could do to the black box specification to make the manufacturing cost rise over $100, let alone $5000. This is another example of greedy companies making sky high estimates so later no one thinks twice when the mandate is passed and said company can start raping for profits.
      • 4 Years Ago
      as others have mentioned, those numbers are completely and totally inflated.

      the size will not be NEARLY that big, no chance in hell. the price for something that is not very powerful and has 1 function, when produced on such a large scale, AND that it will be the price in 5 years time as the cost of technology continually dropping.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ...and that was the day I became a motorcycle guy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You better think about that. Since 2001 or so all motorcycles must have a computer interface pigtail for plug-in to a computer. Currently I am not aware of any states that require a diagnostic of the computer data for inspection like cars and lite trucks, but it is comming. Soon, very soon, all bikes will be fuel injection to meet emmission laws and will be required to pass a test like cars do. The next step is obvious.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry Brian. I had ment to say all domestically manufactured motorcycles. I might add that I am aware that several foreign made machines are also doing it. Suzuki, and Honda being some. Not shure it's all models, but it's only a matter of time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why not scratch this plan, remove some heavy crash requirements and instead spend the money on teaching people how to drive?
      • 4 Years Ago
      How can a recording device cost $5k?
      Sounds like FUD/BS by the manufacturers who don't want to put them in.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My goodness. A lot of you are plain dumb. This cost is completely exagerrated by the auto and insurance industry to try to kill the bill. There is no way a black box recorder for a car (A CAR!!! Not a plane. We're talking about a CAR.) can or should cost 5K.

      Get a hold of yourselves. 5K for a recording computer. It ain't like they have to put all new sensors on the car, because the cars already have them to communicate with the ECU and OBD. Just another cash grab and scare tactic.
      • 4 Years Ago
      4-5K says WHO? This is scare tactics from the auto lobbies.
      • 4 Years Ago
      can't they give cops a 50.00 calculator programed with a bunch of formulas.
        • 4 Years Ago
        10 hour shift, divided by 4 breaks, times number of coffee shops on my patrol route = potential donuts per shift!
      • 4 Years Ago
      B.S.

      Economies of scale will SIGNIFICANTLY reduce that figure.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Let me guess.... some Chicago thug will get a sole source contract to build these.
      • 4 Years Ago
      an $18,000 versa? oh hells no!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Another fine example of how government screws up 98% of everything they touch!
        • 4 Years Ago
        yea that has bad news written allover it, how does a dealer tell a customer that 1/3 of the price is in a little box that they'll probably (hopefully) never need?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Some flash memory and a fireproof box is going to cost $5000? Someone needs to introduce these folks to Ebay. I will order it for them if they want for $50 and sell it to them for the bargain price of only $500 per car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The article is a joke, and those of you using it as a basis for a politcal argument are even more of a joke. Think about it. Their logic is that since a plane's blackbox costs $20k then a car's will cost $4-5k. By that same logic, your car would already cost $30 to 40 million dollars. After all, that's about 25% the cost of an airliner, just like the black box comparison. There is no mention of specific parts or sited resources that helped make this determination, so why are so many of you positive that it's all true? Instead of accepting the information presented in the article as gospel, I googled the price of aftermarket black boxes that are already available. For around $300 you can get a blackbox system with telemetry, full ODB II readings and video. For about $1000 you get one that's more like the one pictured above. Factor in economies of scale, and watch the price drop even more.

        There is one thing in the whole article that shows actual logic, and that's when the OEM lobbyist says that any additional complexity adds to the cost of a car. That's all he says. The other quotes are given by an executive in the autoparts industry, and he is just doing what executives in articles like this do: trying to give quotes that make it look like his company will be making more money soon.

        Always question your source.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This article sounds like utter BS and so does that $4-5K estimate. It can't be done because of cost?That's what people said about airbags. Yes they added cost but nowhere near as much as initial estimates. Also, this cost will come down rather quickly as economies of scale kick in. If Google can contract manufacture the Nexus One phone and sell it profitably for around $550, then these "black boxes" should cost a lot less than that. Fireproofing and waterproofing included.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Psh, add some options and you can approach $18,000 pretty easily. Cheapest I've seen on a dealer's lot is $15,500. Same with my neighbor's Honda Fit - that thing easily pushes $20k, WHY I have no idea since you can pick up a car two classes above it, and get way more car for the money.

        Stupidity rules all, apparently.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Jeff and Tek

        It's not the requirement that bothers me. Its this governmental impulse to appear the hero who will save us from evil Corporate America.

        "...automakers have developed many of today's significant safety innovations without a government mandate, including anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control (ESC), adaptive headlights, side airbags and curtains, front passenger safety belt reminder systems and advanced collision avoidance features like lane departure warning, blind spot monitors and adaptive cruise control." - Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

        We don't owe the fact that we now have the lowest traffic related fatalities since the 1950's to governmental mandates alone... matter of fact, they come largely from the profit-driven business need to meet consumer preferences, and everyone wants in so competition has spread these safety features far and wide(without Governmental Mandate) where every automaker at least have it as an option out of fear of looking inadequate or dated; there is a market incentive for the automakers to keep their customers alive and safe, as people cross-shop a vehicle based on safety just as they do on design, eco-friendliness, luxury, power, and sportiness.

        There is a rational case for the inclusion of these black boxes, and once introduced, given time, it won't be expensive and may help lower insurance.

        But I don't want Government getting in the habit of imposing what it feels is best for me on the auto industry. We will probably have them anyways within a few years without the need for these mandates.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "how does a dealer tell a customer that 1/3 of the price is in a little box that they'll probably (hopefully) never need?"

        1/3 of the price (and upwards of 20% of the weight of the car) is ALREADY federally mandated safety crap that people who know how to drive don't need.

        Dealers will explain this away exactly as they already do - "it's got a sunroof!"

        • 4 Years Ago
        Who didn't see all these new regulations coming. The Democrats and trial lawyers are totally running this country right now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Liberals piss me off so much. Who wants to bet they have their hands in the pockets of whichever company is going to be contracted to do these "black boxes"? Mandating those black boxes is basically a tax that consumers will have to pay. Who wants to pay an extra $5,000 for a car?

        Moreover, those boxes would cause more deaths than anything. Why? Because the price of cars would go up and people would keep their old cars longer. A modern car is far more safe than its older counterparts.

        Ron Paul!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I guess I'll be hanging on to my older cars a lot longer than expected...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan

        Problem is there are so many idiots on the road. is the reason the govt mandates half of this crap. I tend to believe most accidents are preventable, and people just need to follow one simple thing. they aren't driving for themselves but for everyone around them. and be aware of the idiots around you.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is so one sided...umm HELLO Fire Proofing and water proofing are not bad things? Listen to yourselves. You sound so stupid right now that its ridiculous, these could save money in the long run with insurance companies, and lives with the recorded crash data, it could help us build better cars...idiots
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