Autonomous cars are hitting highways across the United States, and automotive black boxes, or event data recorders, are getting more advanced than ever.
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At present, over 90 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States today are equipped with event data recorders, more commonly known as black boxes. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets its way, that already high figure will swell to a full 100 percent in short order.
It's been working its way through Congress for years, but according to Car and Driver, an event recorder mandate could soon become law. The Senate has already voted to adopt a transportation bill that would make the so-called "black boxes" mandatory by the 2015 model year. According to the report, the House of Representatives is also expected to pass a similar statute.
Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota executive vice president in charge of research and development, has confirmed that a software glitch has caused the company's event data recorder readers to misinterpret speeds during accidents. According to Automotive News, the executive admits that his company had previously underscored the fact that it couldn't say whether or not there was a problem with the black boxes themselves. The software bug in the readers came to light during the manufacturer's investigation
According to a report in The Washington Post, the event data recorders the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration used to investigate claims of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles have a history of problems. In one incident, a Toyota pickup that struck a tree in a single car accident was recorded as going 177 mph – far faster than any T100 we've ever seen. A separate reading from the same device put the truck's speed at a more feasible 75 mph. The article even says th
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
A massive auto safety overhaul bill has made its way out of committee and onto the floor of the House of Representatives for voting. According to Automotive News, the biggest changes that the bill proposes is the mandatory addition of black boxes and brake override mechanisms to all new cars and trucks. The event-data recorders would track information shortly before and after an accident for a specified period of time in order to help investigators determine the cause of an accident. Legislators
Long before shows like CSI misled the public about how long a DNA test takes and introduced the mythical world of "zoom and enhance," airplane black boxes were making people think you could minutely recreate an air disaster if you could just get the box. Not so. Turns out that quite a few cars sold in the U.S. have black boxes as well, with the same limitations: you can retrieve a certain set of data from them, but its quality and usefulness varies.
As of today, when incidents like sudden acceleration happen, it's extremely difficult to diagnose conclusively what the cause was. Without a mechanism to track exactly what the driver did, what the vehicle sensors detected and how the vehicle responded, it usually ends up being a he said/she said situation.
Though you may not realize it, your car is probably equipped with an automotive 'black box'. Also known as Event Data Recorders, these devices record information from a vehicle's various sensors during a crash – everything from airbag performance to the angle of the steering wheel to the speed of the vehicle is retained. Though an estimated 90 percent of new vehicles are shipped with the devices, each manufacturer uses their own hardware, software and file formats.