Vehicle Data Beyond the “Black Box”
Although Event Data Recorders (EDR), commonly referred to as “black box” data, provide our experts with a wealth of information for passenger and commercial vehicles, that’s not the only source for critical information. Today’s automobiles are constantly producing, downloading, and recording data outside of the EDR that tell investigators a fact-based story.
Vehicle Thefts & Mechanical Failures
Alarm Systems, Transponders, and Keys
Our mechanical experts and forensic locksmiths investigate vehicle thefts by conducting a physical inspection and analyzing data available within the vehicle and within its keys. Data is being sent to and from the different systems – engine immobilizer, alarm system, transponder, and keys – with the purpose of proper operation of a vehicle. When one of the critical elements is missing, the vehicle will not operate. Our experts are able to investigate each of these systems to identify red flags. This along with the physical inspection can uncover red-flags and possible motive.
Infotainment & Telematics Systems
Today’s vehicles can be extensions of the operator’s phone, downloading and recording data throughout operation of the vehicle. By accessing the infotainment data, our experts can determine if a phone was tethered to the vehicle at the time of a theft, navigational data points during the time frame of the incident, and communications that occurred during that time.
Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC), Fault Codes, and Freeze Frame Data can provide our experts with information about the mechanical condition of the vehicle within a timeframe. With the interpretation of the codes along with odometer reading markers, the mechanical engineer can determine whether the condition was long term; and if and when the operator was notified of the condition.
Vehicle Accident Reconstruction
“Black Box” or EDR Data
Nearly all Airbag Control Modules (ACMs) are equipped with Event Data Recorders (EDRs) or “Black Boxes.” Beginning on or after September 1, 2012, each manufacturer with a motor vehicle equipped with an EDR was required to provide a tool commercially available to image event data. Important information such as speed, acceleration, braking, steering angle, occupancy, and seat belt use can be recorded and analyzed to reconstruct the accident.
New Developments in EDR Recording
As technology develops within the automotive industry, the quantity and quality of the data available develops as well. Collision mitigation data, or front crash prevention systems, use cameras, radar, or other sensors to monitor the roadway ahead. Some include forward collision warning systems to alert the driver of a hazard ahead. Other vehicles systems go a step further and are equipped with Automatic (or Autonomous) Emergency Braking (AEB). This information is beginning to be recorded within some EDRs. This information is not typically accessible with the standard retrieval tool; however, our experts have access to advanced tools that can image this critical data.
Not only is the EDR or “black box” able to record data associated with that vehicle, but some newer vehicles are beginning to record objects outside of the vehicle. Some will provide whether an object was present alerting the AEB system, what type of object i.e. car, and whether that object was moving or stationary.