Automotive Black Boxes EDR's or Event Data Recorders
Black Boxes EDR's or Event Data Recorders
An estimated 25 million automobiles in the United States now have
event data recorders, a scaled-down version of the devices that
monitor cockpit activity in airplanes. Like aviation recorders,
automobile black boxes mainly receive attention after an accident.
The devices' primary function is to monitor various sensors and
decide whether to fire air bags. Since the 1998 model year, all
new cars from all manufacturers have been required to have air bags
and so most such recent-model cars have the devices. But secondary
and more recently installed features in many recorders store data
from a few seconds before a crash. Though capabilities vary widely
among carmakers, most recorders store only limited information on
speed, seat-belt use, physical forces, brakes and other factors.
Voices are not recorded. But the devices are finding their way into
courtrooms as evidence in criminal and civil cases, leading some
privacy advocates to question how the recorders came to be installed
so widely with so little public notice or debate.
Motorists face travel tax and 'Big Brother' microchip law enforcement
07 September 2003 By MATTHEW LOWE Motorists face being taxed on
how far they travel under government plans to generate cash. Transport
Minister Paul Swain said with vehicles becoming more fuel efficient,
revenue from petrol tax would drop and alternative charges needed
to be considered. It is one of a number of transport schemes being
looked at by officials, including a Big
Brother-style project to equip every car with a personalised microchip
so law-breaking motorists can be prosecuted by computer.
Brother on board Monday June 16 2003 Few owners know it,
but many cars sold around the world are equipped with "black boxes".
And, as a US court case has just shown, the contents can be dynamite.
When Edwin Matos, 47, killed two girls in a car crash, he didn't
know his own car would become a witness for the prosecution. Like
millions of motorists around the world, Matos had no idea his
vehicle contained an electronic data box recording what he did
just before the crash. But the information will help send him
to prison. His Pontiac's electronic data recorder showed his speed
was 114mph (184kmh). He was convicted of two counts of manslaughter
and two counts of vehicular homicide. The cigarette-sized box
that helped jail Matos is part of a car's computer systems that
record the speed of the vehicle, whether the driver was accelerating
or braking, and whether the seat belts were buckled.