Event Data Recorder to be mandatory for all new vehicles

Event Data Recorder to be mandatory for all new vehicles

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

From July 2024, all newly registered passenger cars in the EU must be equipped with an Event Data Recorder (EDR). This is pointed out by the German motorists’ association ADAC. The device stores numerous vehicle data; in the event of an accident, experts can use it to draw important conclusions about the cause and course of the crash.

Similar to the well-known “black boxes” that help experts evaluate the causes in the case of airplane crashes, the EDRs are intended to record and store important sensor data on vehicles before, during and, in some cases, after an accident to help insurance companies and, if necessary, the judiciary reconstruct the event. Vehicle manufacturers can also use the collected data to improve design measures for vehicle safety.

The basis for the requirement to install EDRs is UN Regulation No. 160, which is being implemented into law by local and governmental governments and transnational organizations such as the EU. It has been in effect for some time – for example, since July 6, 2022, all new vehicle developments must include such a recorder. From July 7, 2024, not only newly developed, but all newly registered passenger cars and light commercial vehicles are to be equipped accordingly. By design, the EDR is usually integrated into the airbag control unit.

The EDRs continuously record numerous vehicle data. However, this data is only permanently stored when corresponding sensors register an accident – or unusual driving conditions that could trigger an accident. These triggers include abrupt acceleration in longitudinal and lateral directions or the deployment of seat belt tensioners or airbags. In such a case, the recorded data is permanently stored in the period of 300 milliseconds before and after the triggering event.

Three categories of data are recorded and, if necessary, stored: Vehicle dynamics information before the crash, after the crash, and restraint system information. The first category includes vehicle speed, accelerator pedal position, brake status, engine speed, ABS and stability control activity, and steering wheel angle. The ignition cycle during a crash is also recorded. Vehicle dynamics information includes the change in speed over time (delta V) in the longitudinal and lateral axes and the resulting acceleration vector. Restraint system information includes the occupant seat belt status, the operating status of the airbag warning light, and the deployment times of the various airbags and seat belt pretensioners, each separately for driver and passengers.

To read these data out, specialists can access the EDR via the OBD interface. As a rule, such access takes place as part of forensic measures to clarify the circumstances of the accident. Because the data stored within the EU is subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), access to the EDR is subject to strict restrictions and usually requires a court order.

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