I like this idea and the technology has already existed for quite some time, though generally used for the opposite effect - disabling reads from a programmed device (ROM, microcontroller ROMs) to protect IP. This has also been done in a non-desctructive way where memory read/write can be re-enabled, but only after erasing the contents.
) Take that existing tech, repurposed to write-protecting the memory
) add in on-board logic that monitors the sensor values of interest and locks the memory to read-only after a catastrophic event was detected
) possibly add the ability to re-enable writes (so the hardware could be reused), but only after incrementing a non-resetable, non user-writable counter that indicates writing was enabled after a catastrophic event.
DO NOT blame all engineers for the creation of this concept and package. I may have been the first to suggest something, but my idea was a system to record seatbelt usage, the idea was that if occupants wee not wearing their belts that the insurance company would not need to pay anything. I still think that it would be a very effective incentive towards belt use. It would allow freedom of choice, but of course it would not allow freedom from consequences. But it does not ever seem to have been taken seriously.
I'm all for software that allows you to erase the info. That information will never help you. It's there to let the government fine you or your insurance company to raise your rates. Whatever they'll feed you about the data being helpful to science and there to save lives is a bunch of BS.
The issues brought up here need to be sorted out and fast. The technology (e.g. OnStar) is upon us so that no physical contact with the vehicle is necessary in order to suck out the memory contents of a VDR. We can still buy a car that doesn't have a VDR but that is going away soon. How long will it be before cars will be required to have a cellular based wireless data connection. When that cuts in the vehicle owner will be the LAST person in the data access permission chain.
You raise a bunch of good points, TJ. One, quite notably, is "who is behind this initiative?" If you consider that 96% of vehicles already have the technology, and the manufacturers did so without the prodding of a mandate, it tells you a lot.
This has nothing to do with saving lives or public safety. Follow the money, folks. This is all about about making sure the proper party gets blamed and they are sued to the hilt. They only want to make sure the data can't be tampered with so it will stand up in court.
As has already happened (i.e. rental car companies), data will be collected about where and how fast you were going (via GPS) for the purpose of revenue collection. You will simply get a speeding ticket in the mail informing you of the infraction. Again, its just money folks. "Public safety" is just a smoke screen to make the program appear palatable.
There's good news and bad news regarding the sub-systems of today's late-model vehicles. The good news is that new engines and transmissions are more trouble-free than in the past. The bad news is that the infotainment and DVD players are still prone to be "buggy."
For decades, the corporate path to the chief executive's office has often passed through engineering. Automotive, computer, electronics, and oil companies have frequently drawn their leaders from the engineering ranks.
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