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Crash data from ECU? Insurance/legal repucussions?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Mouth, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. I was reading a private crash research company (USA) article today (you hire them to get info to use in court cases) and they specified that one of the methods they use is to plug into the crashed vehicle(s) ECU and download data of, and immediately prior to, the accident.

    Vehicle speed, engine rpm, throttle percentage, brake circuit activation, and velocity change was some examples they gave. Apparently this sort of info is available in any car/bike with an ECU (98% of cars built in last 7 years they claimed).

    This info could then be used to determine if you, or the other party, anticipated/reacted to the accident or not, response times (both to the accident going to occur and between avoidance techniques), sequence of events (throttle closing, braking, etc), and also how close you or the other party came to using full braking ability of the vehicle.

    Was an interesting article/blurb .. wish I had access to a scanner at the time. I wonder if anyone has come across any incidents of such downloading of ECU data techniques being used? Apprently this company was being rushed of it's feet for it's services and had close to a 2 mth waiting list ... lawyers wanting to prove other parties didn't brake/respond etc. for damages cases and stuff.

    I wonder what the likelyhood, when insurance companies take possession/ownership of written-off vehicles, of them either now or in the future performing such data downloads from the ECU's and determing insurance payout approvals/knock-backs based on the information it contains? Especially since the ECU's would likely (can anyone confirm?) hold/contain vehicle speed immediately prior to an accident or at the time of reaction. Imagine your insurance comapny denying your crash claim due to the ECU showing you were doing 127 km/h immediately before you went wide on a corner and crashed!
  2. Whoa :shock:

    /Loz runs out to bike and starts breaking anything that looks electronic, black, or box-like.
  3. There was an article on this issue in Silicon Chip, at least one driver in the US has been convicted as a result of data pulled from the airbag computer (he claimed to have only been doing 100 - data showed he was actually doing 184).
    Edit: You can also buy aftermarket devices like this if you want to monitor your own car - handy if other people are borrowing it or for company/fleet vehicles. Also useful if you just want to keep an eye on how well the engine is running.
  4. my folks just bought a new ford xls.....
    its got a CDR (crash data recovery unit) in it..and the entire car is riddled with sensors for everything.
    Im not sure which companies here in victoria have the hardware/software to extract this data...but I am sure that the police have access...and so do the manufacturers...for warranty purposes.

    this is an article I found amongst many others...cheers


    and here is another

  5. Big Brother at it's best.

    (wonder if the tractor will run on carbs )
  6. a sledgehammer should sort that problem out nicely.... Sorry officer got no idea how that got smashed up :grin: .
  7. A mate sells HSVs at a local HSV/GM/H dealer. A local chap had a Clubsport. Brought it in for warranty work. Diff was rooted. They hooked up a computer to the vehicle. Discovered that at some point prior to the failure that the car was doing some high speeds and high engine RPMs, including being constantly on the rev limiter.

    Turns out he fried it at a club day down the Island. Warranty claim was rejected.

    For crash investigations it's probably a good tool to try and work out what may have happened up to and during the crash. I'm not sure though, that I'd like the idea of an insurance company getting a hold of the data. It's bad enough now trying to get them to pay out on claims, whether or not they're legit. If they cite say, you exceeding the speed limit by a poofteenth, even though it may have been 10 mins. before the crash occured, and thus deny a payout all that's gonna do is to give the likes of Slater and Gordon a heap more business.

    Big brother has gone far enough I feel.
  8. I bet insurers dont like this sort of thing, as it could be used against them. I bet you $1 they would prefer to be able to make judgements regarding payments based on their policy rather than any crash data.
  9. I bet the insurers would only use it if it benifited them though, so they probably like it!

    We OTOH wouldn't have access to the data (at least cheaply or easily).
  10. I wonder if there are sensors that record when the front wheel is not in contact with the ground. :p
  11. yes ... gotta love it dont you ... and within 10 years big bro will probably be able to access the things too while your traveling ... and issue you fines etc for things you had done in the past week
  12. *** Tin foil hats on***

    So we combine the data gathered from the ECU, your GPS unit, the 'traffic management' cameras, your E-Tag records, add that to your medical records, electronic banking history, when you swipe in/out at work, mobile phone records...

    You have heard that there will soon be a centralised computer database on peoples toilet habits haven't you???
  13. Yep Pete I've got my Tinfoil Hat all ready (was it shiny side in or out?).

    Oh no the screen just flickered.... It means the're watching me :-w

    IT that is :p
  14. lol nah tinfoil dont work ...... just spray your whole body / bike in that flash back and you will turn invisable or failing that you ride around reallll fast in ever decreasing circles till you dissapear up your own clacker
  15. So... if I buy a bike that has carbs instead of EFI, etc. does that mean I won't have data recorded?
    (just dreaming about my next purchase :) )
  16. EFI only records data relevant to the engine - it's the airbag computer that measures your speed and deceleration (ie how fast you were going before you hit and whether or not you braked). Even less reason to buy one of those airbag equipped motorcycles from Honda.
  17. Let's say a vehicle is pranged and written off, data is downloaded and used for insurance purposes, vehicle is sold on to a wrecker who then does a repair and re-sells

    Who zeros the data chip?
  18. hornet, the ecu needs a reset after an airbag deployment (or even just an airbag electronics malfunction) - as for the rest of the data, you have a purchase date for the vehicle so the only trouble you would find is dodgy ecu timestamps from dead batteries and so forth.

    Are accelerometers on vehicles really that useful for crash investigations? You really only need a trip unit that will set off the bag once acceleration in a particular direction exceeds a threshold. It doesn't need to output intermediate values that would show braking - i'd be more inclined to think that such info might be available in vehicles with dynamic stability devices and no others - ie very few cars, and no bikes.
  19. Have a look at the article I posted a link to - some manufacturers are equipping cars with devices that record events up to the deployment of the airbag, as well as "near deployments" ie heavy braking. This includes info on driver's seatbelt, engine rpm, speed, throttle opening, and brake status. And in the event of an airbag deployment it is permantly written to an EEPROM. It came about from a recommendation by the National transport safety board as a means of analysing collision data and is common on US built cars (and probably will be on Aus built ones soon too). True it's not really applicable to bikes though (yet).
  20. I would suggest having a look at the transport industry (heavy rigs). A lot of companies that own their vehicles actually fit them with units like 'Road Relays' that gather from ECU's and store that information and use it to calculate other things. For example you can tell if a driver has breeched his/her workload (drive hours/day). How many times they have locked the wheels. Peak rpm, peak power, fuel consumption. After an incident they can be recovered to give an accurate account of what actually happened. I have no doubt that we will see more units like this in modern vehicles. *hugs 1989 vtwin*