The Future is Now


While technologies like fully Autonomous Vehicles and Hydrogen Powered Fuel Cells may still be a few years away, there are a number of technologies that are that are currently being installed on new vehicles that you may not be aware of. One of the most advanced technologies is the Event Data Recorder or the “Black Box” as it’s more commonly referred to.

This little piece of equipment has many people jubilant while others are leery and suspicious. The problem in many instances has to do with a perceived invasion of privacy. There are those that loathe the idea that others can not only know of their activities, but worse yet is the idea of being recorded.

(Personally, I feel like if you’ve got nothing to hide, then who cares who’s watching…but that’s another story for another day.)

The original purpose of the Black Box was for safety reasons, it’s essentially a computer that can make split second decisions in accident type circumstances. It can calculate vehicle speed, rate of deceleration , if the car is spinning and a lot more. The information is then used by other on-board computers to make adjustments in real time. Adjustments such as anti-lock brake applications to get car under control, seat belt tensioners to restrain the occupant or ultimately air bag deployment.

The problem is with the flip side (there’s always seems to be a flip side) and that is the information stored on the hard drive can also be used for investigatory purposes and that’s the rub for lot’s of folks. One such incident involved a driver and a passenger that changed seats just after a crash. They were apparently unaware that sensors in the seat bottoms not only identify passenger presence but also approximate weight of the passenger. (The information is needed for air bag deployment) In that case investigators were able to conclude the passenger was actually the driver at the time of impact.

As of September 2015 all cars and trucks are required to have the Event Data Recorder installed and as of today, there is no way for the vehicle owner to safely or easily remove or deactivate the system. As technology marches on, it’s a foregone conclusion that these recorders will become more sophisticated and capable.

Currently, both interior and exterior camera technology is being researched that will identify driver behavior and reactions during emergency situations and that is being heavily contested by some.
The idea that has many people uncomfortable is if a camera is being used to record them, then (in the minds of many) the possibility of hacking that data feed is a clear and present danger.

Here at Horsepower Broadcasting, we see many potential future technologies that will no doubt have some celebrating while at the same time see others protesting. As these technologies make their way in to the automotive world, you can be sure we’ll be there to keep you laced up with the latest developments.


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About Author

Donny is a Southern California specialty shop owner with primary emphasis on transmission and differential systems. He is an automotive technology graduate with over 30 years of experience. He and his wife own DMC Transmission outside of Los Angeles and were awarded “Shop of the Year” honors in 2010 and 2011.

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