Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageGerman legislation will require 'black box' in autonomous cars

By Karen Graham     Jul 18, 2016 in Technology
Berlin - Even though self-driving cars are projected to be available to the masses by 2020, and that is just a few years from now, one major hurdle is in trying to determine who or what is responsible in the event of an accident.
German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt has proposed legislation that would require automotive manufacturers to install "black boxes' in autonomous vehicles to aid in determining responsibility in the event of an accident, reports Reuters.
We all know what a "black box" is — the sealed box containing the flight data recorder that is found on aircraft. It is this data recorder that often reveals to investigators what was going on in the aircraft at the time of an accident.
Most newer cars on the road today have event data recorders (EDRs).
Most newer cars on the road today have event data recorders (EDRs).
Twitter
Minister Dobrindt is proposing that cars with the autopilot or self-driving technology come equipped with a similar data recorder that would let investigators know when the self-driving feature is activated and when the vehicle is being controlled manually.
The data recorders would also show when the driver took back control of the car when instructed to do so. Under the proposed legislation, drivers will not have to pay attention to traffic or concentrate on steering, but must remain seated at the wheel at all times so they can intervene in the event of an emergency, according to UberGizmo.
The proposed legislation will be sent to other ministries this summer for their approval said a spokesperson from the Transportation Ministry. Autonomous or self-driving vehicles have come under increasing scrutiny because of the fatal crash of the Tesla Model S back in May.
The Economic Times of India is saying that pressure has been put on automotive industry executives and regulators by the public, seeking assurances that self-driving technology is safe.
Event data recorder is on the left. Information is being downloaded to a computer.
Event data recorder is on the left. Information is being downloaded to a computer.
Twitter
Data recorders? Tesla already has that
It can be said with a certain amount of authority that if you make an error while behind the wheel of a Tesla Motors vehicle, you will be found out. Actually, trying to hide what really happened in an accident involving a Tesla car is almost impossible says the MIT Technology Review.
As an example of the technology used by Tesla, an accident that occurred in the early part of June this year was attributed to a Tesla Model X SUV that, according to the owner, "suddenly accelerated, crashing into a building."
But in a statement to Verge, Tesla responded, saying: "Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6 mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100 percent … Consistent with the driver’s actions, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed."
Surprisingly, most of the cars sold in the United States have event data recorders, sometimes described as black boxes, but they don't come close to what Tesla's data recorders keep track of.
Tesla records a lot more details and the information is sent over the Internet. And that is something else we will be seeing a lot more of soon, Internet connectivity. And of course, car makers want to get as much information about our cars as they can get. It is thought that by 2020, 90 percent of vehicles in the U.S. will be using this technology.
More about Black box, german legislation, determine responsibility, autonomous vehicles, data recorders