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I can see the pros, data is collected that could pertain to the investigation of a motor vehicle accident and determine whether it is driver or vehicle error, and exactly what the problem was. I would imagine the data collected is very expansive and very revealing to a collision reconstruction expert.

However, it's also just another "Big Brother" moment where the government yet snakes there way into another aspect of our lives. I mean, technically if you have nothing to hide then this whole black box thing shouldn't be a problem, in fact it could probably be put to use by civilians if the data wasn't just recording 30 seconds prior to airbags deploying. Several offenses and defenses regarding various traffic violations could be created by these black boxes. Your car could be used for you, or against you.

Now I'm interested in GM's prior use of these, and exactly how many models and cars these boxes are in. I also would like to know how tamper proof the system is. Not to sound like some crazy conspiracy theorist but I would hope the system is impenetrable by foreign sources.
 

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Every 2nd Matters
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OnStar, Baby.
 

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In the past its just been a sort of on-board carfax, it records accidents, but only basic details. I don't know what all these new ones will record, or what they have been recording the past few years for that matter.
 

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Storm Trooper Ralf
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I can see the pros, data is collected that could pertain to the investigation of a motor vehicle accident and determine whether it is driver or vehicle error, and exactly what the problem was. I would imagine the data collected is very expansive and very revealing to a collision reconstruction expert.

However, it's also just another "Big Brother" moment where the government yet snakes there way into another aspect of our lives. I mean, technically if you have nothing to hide then this whole black box thing shouldn't be a problem, in fact it could probably be put to use by civilians if the data wasn't just recording 30 seconds prior to airbags deploying. Several offenses and defenses regarding various traffic violations could be created by these black boxes. Your car could be used for you, or against you.

Now I'm interested in GM's prior use of these, and exactly how many models and cars these boxes are in. I also would like to know how tamper proof the system is. Not to sound like some crazy conspiracy theorist but I would hope the system is impenetrable by foreign sources.
while i was going to WyoTech one of my friends purchased a 2009 Mitsu EVO and removed his and reprogrammed a bunch of stuff so he cud modify it how ever he wanted. so im guessing they can be removed or messed with lol
 

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^I think the article said they could be under the center console, but since some Imps got the bench, I would think elsewhere on all?
 

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honestly I would like that just because it could save my ass in terms of $$$ if someone hit me. Still sucks that the government has another way to get too involved but i think the benefit outweighs that problem.
 

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If I understand this correctly, all GM vehicles 1990+ have one already, but the Gov. is planning to mandate on ALL vehicles.
They can be useful. An old friend of mine had a late 89 or 90 Lumina I believe that was involved in a very serious wreck. The police learned that the car had the black box and contacted GM about pulling it and downloading the readings from it. GM contacted my friend with in just days and by the end of the week they had sent a representative to pull it and gather the information. They were amazed that he and his passenger survived the wreck. The black box also showed that he was not the cause of the accident. GM even bought the car from him to study how it performed during the collision. His passenger was fine and my friend had some bruising from the collision and the car was fully totaled out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
^That's pretty interesting. It's nice to know that it can help solve the mysteries of an accident, but equally it is big brother. I still agree there are more benefits from THIS than there are cons.
 

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Have you ever seen those progressive commercials that mention snap shot discounts? Much of the same thing.
 

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My GMASEP instructor in college told me that GM actually used airbags in cars since the 70's as well, but they didn't bother telling anyone and they didn't always work. So some people got a surprise when they wrecked their caddy!
 

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^ They even had two stage bags back in the early 70's on those Cadillacs. I remember in the 90's when The Big Three said that making 2 stage (dual deployment speed) airbags would be expensive because for one they had never done it. Turned out Cadillac had and it was not that expensive to do.
 

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Yeah, just like how they say it's hard to meet mileage requirements, but cars don't get any better mileage now days than they did back then. They're all full of it.
 

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Cars have had a black box for many years. I know SAAB has had since the ninetiees at least.

On another note, I read that ALL cars that are being sold new in Europe NOW or in the near future are mandated to have automatic lights on/off and GPS systems that alert rescue services in case of an accident, keep you from speeding and check where you are going in order to map "environmental impact". Big Brother here we come!

ATESST - http://www.atesst.org/
 

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Hey guys. I might be able to shed a little more light on the subject. I am currently a member of an accident investigation team and by next year I will be a accident reconstructionist. There are several types of crash data recorders on vehicles these days. Here are the ones that are currently in use by different manufactures.
ACM=Air Bag Control Module
SCM=Sensing and Diagnostic Module
PCM=Power Train Control Module
RCM=Restraint Control Module
The data that these things can record can be up to 20+ pages of information. They record things like Vehicle Speed, Engine RPM, Throttle position, Brake position, Seat belt status, Delta-V's (the amount of force placed upon the car by an outside force), Steering wheel location, Seat location. There is just a ton of information theses things record.
Each company out there uses one or more of theses types of devices. Almost every car has one of these in it including semi's. The first thing to understand is that a accident investigator will not base their investigation on the informatoin from these. Its a computer and it can malfunction. For example at a crash scene I mirror the module and dont look at it until I am almost done with my investigation. All the evidence that I need for an investigation is on the scene. I wouldnt need the module information for any part of the investigation, however it does help confirm my findings from my investigation. They have been very helpful in allowing investigators to figure out if the accident was caused by a vehicle issue or a driving issue. I hope this helps clear things up. I was against them until I became an accident investigator. These devices can actually help people who have been in an accident. As an example you are driving your impala that has one and the guy that hits you is driving a car without one. It can show how much force the other guy hit you with and show that you tried to avoid the collision by applying the brakes or tried to swerve to avoid hitting the other guy.
Now do understand that if you are in the wrong well then the information could be used against you. But if I go into court I am not going to just walk in with the module priint out and say this is what happened. I am gonna use crush, road, photo and other types of evidence. The easiest thing to do is drive using your head.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the info. That's kind of cool how that whole process works and interesting the breakdowns of it.
 

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^I think the article said they could be under the center console, but since some Imps got the bench, I would think elsewhere on all?
Good thread. My take is that the block box is merely an IC in one of the main computers (PCM, BCM, etc). In recent years, flash memory has gotten very dense and very inexpensive. The write times are reasonably fast - that is, it can store data in real time. And getting a megabyte is cheap. So, for example, the last million data points logged by a car could be stored there. That data can includes lots of different things - speed, TPS, brake pedal position rpm, etc. And, depending on how the data set is managed, it could include data from minutes, hours days, weeks or longer. IOW, every detail, every subtle nuance of driving style, can be learned from such a device.

I work for a chip maker and I'm under the impression this capability had been built into the cars for years.

From a different perspective, the cost of the technology is not a barrier to implementing this on every car made. IMO, it comes down to being a legal / PR issue for the car makers.

Doug

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Discussion Starter #19
That's another interesting thought. I honestly don't know how it all functions and where it is and such, so all this is new to me and very interesting.
 

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honestly I would like that just because it could save my ass in terms of $$$ if someone hit me. Still sucks that the government has another way to get too involved but i think the benefit outweighs that problem.
"Those that would trade their freedom for security, deserve neither" - Benjamin Franklin, (I believe).
 
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