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Black boxes on cars?

The article says many cars have had black box recorders, for years. Anyone have any idea which cars have them? Or, links which might help. I am curious about this. I have a 2002 Sienna if that helps.

I will be Googling on this and if I find anything, I will try to share.

Okay, time to share. allegedly has a list up to 2002. Not sure if no imports have it, or they don’t list imports.

The writer asked how on earth they can capture past data, when it only starts recording after the crash. Yawn. What they do, by necessity, is constantly monitor the data, and constantly discard it after five seconds. When a crash occurs, they store it in non-volatile memory, including the previous five seconds.

It is an interesting situation. How do they save it with non-volatile memory, until the crash occurs. Traditionally, NVM fails after a large number of writes, though they might have come up with something better since I retired from the old radio factory in 1997. Maybe they use volatilve memory, with a local charge which gives them time to write to NVM?

And, Bosch software listing is shown here, Sienna apparently started in 2004, Camry in 2002.

I have no idea about who or when but there was an incident involving a Ford Explorer here about 10 or slightly more years ago involving an accident.
Four high school aged teens in the Ford were on a 2 lane county road at lunchtime and swerved to miss a turning oil tanker. The SUV hit a tree; killing one of the boys and injuring a few others.

Many months go by and it was revealed that the computer showed the SUV overtook the oil tanker and was traveling at 98 MPH when it left the roadway; and this on a narrow 2 lane that is posted 45.

I’m also pretty certain that FOMOCO (and maybe others) have the ability to determine from computer info whether or not someone has modified their vehicle and then returned it to stock form.
As in someone tweaking their truck, damaging it, and then removing their tweaks in an attempt to show that it was never modified.

Recently, in my county, a jury convicted the actress Amy Locane-Bovenizer of vehicular homicide.

Her conviction was based on two incontrovertible pieces of electronic evidence:

The breathalyzer test indicating that she was stone-drunk, at 3 times the legal limit for blood-alcohol.
The Black Box recorder in her vehicle, indicating that she was driving at 53 mph on a curving road with a 35 mph limit when she T-boned a car that was turning into a driveway, killing the female passenger.

She was driving a late-model Chevy Tahoe that hit the victim’s Mercury Milan with such force that the Mercury’s passenger had all of her ribs broken, was nearly decapitated, and died shortly thereafter.

Her defense–incredibly–was that she was driving fast because the driver in back of her was pursuing her.
Why was the driver in back of her in pursuit?
Because Ms. Locane had hit that woman’s car several miles back, and had left the scene of the accident!

In other words…"I was driving fast because I was trying to elude the person whose car I had rear-ended a few minutes ago, and that person was responsible for me hitting and killing another person."
Talk about using a galling defense!

Luckily, the jury saw through this ridiculous defense, and convicted her–albeit on the lesser of two charges.

Have you watched the commerical where Flow is holding something about the size of her thumb. That is the recorder.

Personally I want them recording me.  I am far more likely to need the record than someone using it against me.

Actually this started at GM with good intentions. GM was collecting data of the 5 seconds before airbag deployment with the intent of finding ways to make airbag timing more effective in protecting the occupants. They had the crash test dummy data but wanted some real world data to either confirm the crash test data or improve it.

Unfortunately, some lawyer found out about it and clandestinely obtained the computer from the vehicle of the victim his client was being sued by. In the first case that it was used, the client was at fault, but the lawyer was able to get his client off because he was able to prove that the victim was going a little over the speed limit at the time. The victims lawyer was not prepared for this.

Anyway, since then there has been a lot of controversy about the admissibility of this data into evidence. It varies from court to court. I don’t think lawyers are allowed access to the PCM’s anymore, chain of evidence procedures must be followed so as far as I know, these remain in the hands of law enforcement now and if the data is needed, the PCM is sent to a crime lab.

That thing that Flo is holding plugs into the data port and records % throttle. I guess it is supposed to tell the insurance company that you are less of a risk if you don’t floor the gas pedal all the time.

Maybe they use volatilve memory, with a local charge which gives them time to write to NVM?

Most of our systems have brown out detection. When the power starts to fall, but before it goes below working voltage, the system goes into fail safe mode. This includes writing all pertinent information in RAM to FLASH. The FLASH storage area is many times larger than the data to be written. So we progressively write to a sequential block each time it is written. The entire memory range is treated as a cyclic buffer. This extends the working life of the memory many fold. Bear in mind that power outages in electronic equipment is likely to be a far more frequent and recoverable condition than a vehicle accident. Worrying about wearing out a bit in NVM is probably not an issue for the ECM in a vehicle. How many crashes are you going to be in? Those lifespans are in the 10s (in some cases even 100s) of thousands of writes. So, that is one option. Another approach is to have a large enough supply capacitor to sustain the module in the event of a complete and immediate loss of power. This cap only has to power the module for a very short time while the memory is transferred.

Sadly, black boxes transmitting real-time data to our insurance companies and being used to rate us is probably where the whole issue will head in the not too distant future.

Maybe they could include a real-time display of your premium not unlike your instantaneous gas mileage display

From what I read, they look at accel/decel rates and throttle angles to gauge your driving habits. Routine hard accelerations or hard braking and excessive speed. Should be easy to develop a GPS system to link location and speed limit to actual speed. It starts by enticing people with lower rates and grows into the culture slowly…not unlike a disease…

They can easily look at distances traveled from home, speeds relative to speedlimits, and countless other behaviors as well.

Rental car agencies put boxes on their cars that track all forms of data. In NY and in CA lawsuits were filed, because the companies had programmed the systems such that every time the driver went over the state line, a penalty fee was added. One lawyer rented a hotel just over the state line from where he was attanding a lengthy conference, and every day he got whacked for a penalty fee. His bill at the end of one week was thousands of dollars. He sued. And won.

Both CA and NY have laws prohibiting this practice now.

The big thing about the safe driver info I have is that if you are driving the speed limit, in most cases, you are more of a hazard than a safe driver. If you’re on the freeway doing the posted speed limit, and a semi truck passes you, something is wrong.

I see the download sets run into the thousands of dollars. Based on past experience, I am betting the clever amateurs are looking into it right now. Toyota hand-held tool also costs thousands of dollars, but most of it can be done by $200 scanners. So, I am betting in just a few years, there will be some really inexpensive sets to do the same thing. Just saying.

Your Sienna has a collision data recorder, it is stated in the owners manual;

Your vehicle is equipped with a crash
sensing and diagnostic module, which will
record the use of the seat belt restraint
system by the driver and front passenger
when the SRS side airbags are inflated.

They are not telling you the whole story, the SRS module will record engine data (engine speed, vehicle speed, throttle position ect.) and brake pedal position. Passive restraint systems have had data recorders since the 1980’s.

About ten years ago the issue of consumer privacy and data recorders became a concern, now you’ll find a disclosure in the owners manual. This is from the 2005 Sienna manual;

Event data recorder
Your vehicle has computers that monitor and control certain
aspects of your vehicle. These computers assist in
driving and maintaining optimal vehicle performance. Besides
storing data useful for troubleshooting, there is a
system to record data in a crash or a near car crash
event. This is called an Event Data Recorder (EDR).
The SRS airbag sensor assembly contains the EDR. In a
crash or a near car crash event, this device records some
or all of the following information:
Engine speed
Whether the brake pedal was applied or not
Vehicle speed
To what extent the accelerator pedal was depressed
Position of the transmission selector lever
Whether the driver and front passenger wore the seat
belts or not
Driver’s seat position
Front passenger’s occupant classification
SRS airbag deployment data

Big Brother wins again!-Kevin

In an effort to determine if there was any significant common issue relative to fatal and near fatal accidents in their pickups Chevrolet installed “final 60 second” black boxes in their pickups that included audio in the cab. When the trucks were totaled the black boxes were mailed to GM and after many months of investigation proved somewhat inconclusive a geek noticed a pattern in the boxes from Mississippi trucks. In a significant number the last audio in the cab was similar,’“Hey, Bubba, hold my beer.” “Now watch this.” it wasn’t politically correct or legally wise to make the results public so GM filed them away with the Cadette blue prints.

Oklahoma City recently announced that they were planning to outfit 16 police cars with devices that scan auto license plate automatically and in countless droves. This is being done to allegedly keep an eye out for stolen cars.
The downside is that it maintains a log of every license plate that enters, who owns the vehicle, what road and direction the vehicle is traveling, and also the time of day.
A bit heavy handed IMO.

My concept is this. Why can’t I wipe the car memory whenever I want. It is my computer, I paid for it. We need an erase button , aftermarket perhaps. Remember the car is our device bought and paid for if someone wants the data, they need a warrant. if I want to i can erase the bugger at anytime, It is my car my data and not any buisness of anyone else. Plus there is no standards of fact in a court of law for these numbers. IE they are only as true as the wrecked car might have been recording but not a fact in law. These are not aircraft sensors. they have a lot of acceptable error and cross checking. Rpms do not give speed. brake pedals do not always slow the car. Throttle sensors are right on average but sometimes briefly may give bad data. But a lawyer maybe able to scr234 you based on what a jury of non engineers thinks those data might mean.