Vehicles have become rolling data collectors. Fitted with telematics systems, which allow vehicles to communicate with the outside world, the family crossover now has the capacity to monitor our behavior as faithfully as any computer or electronic-surveillance instrument. And as with other modern threats to privacy, we arrived here out of a desire to improve safety.General Motors spearheaded the first widespread deployment of in-vehicle data recorders, or “black boxes,” in the 1990s, coincident with new airbag regulations. The technology was developed to capture crucial information about real-world crashes to help engineers and researchers improve automotive safety. Today, however, insurance and law-enforcement investigators commonly use the data for crash reconstruction and as evidence in legal cases. You can prove your innocence or be found at fault in an accident with the information captured by a black box. Indeed, event-data recorders (EDRs) installed in Toyota vehicles cleared the company from liability in NHTSA’s 2011 unintended-acceleration investigation.EDRs save a steady stream of data to memory, the old constantly overwritten by the new, until a crash freezes the record from a few seconds before until after it’s over. Federal standards that began with the 2013 model year say vehicles with black boxes must record… Read full this story
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