2011 CDR users summit

Feb 1, 2011 by

Last month I attended the 2011 Bosch CDR Users Summit in Houston. This is the annual get together for Bosch CDR users where we hear presentations on how to more effectively use the technology and what changes are in the pipeline. A dozen or so speakers filled two and a half days with a lot of information. We also witnessed four, fully instrumented, staged crashes in the rear parking lot of the Sheraton. While most of the presentations were specifically useful to Bosch CDR users, some of the information may be of interest to you as well.
As you may already know, 49 CFR 563 requires that, effective 9/1/12 for the 2013 model year, all new cars sold in the US with event data recorders shall have the ability to be imaged or downloaded by a commercially available tool. The single commercially available tool that is already supported by GM, Ford, and Chrysler is made by Bosch. The regulation mandates a minimum number of data parameters that must be reported with certain minimum levels of precision as well.

The current technology offered by Bosch allows us to image the data for a large number of current GM, Ford, and Chrysler models. Generally speaking, the newer the model, the more information is available. The current OEMs far surpass the minimum reporting requirements of Part 563.

The big news from Bosch is that they have made an agreement with Toyota to provide this commercially available download capability. While we are cheering that announcement, the implementation will take a while. The implementation goal is sometime in 2011. When it does comes on line, I would guess that we will see most of the Toyota 2012 models supported. As time and budgets allow, they generally expand their model year coverage to earlier models, but based upon the huge amount of work to be done just for the 2012 coverage, I don’t expect to see much coverage for pre-2012 models.

An additional piece of news from Bosch is that they are making a read-only version of their software available for free to anyone who wants to download it from their website. This will give our client adjusters and attorneys the ability to open a downloaded CDR file, read the notes, data limitations, charts and graphs in the latest version of the software, instead of the PDF report that earlier versions mandated.

We also heard about changes to the Bosch training program. The former one day Technician course has been split into a two day course. Technician Level 1 is eight hours and may be done online.Technician Level 2 is another eight hours and is a hands on learning experience which includes learning to back power the proper circuit through the fuse box (which can be useful when the ignition key is required but missing). Bosch has emphasized that a Diagnostic Link Connection download is always preferable to a direct-to-module download, (nothing new there) so this training gives the technician another way to do DLC downloads. Technician Level 3 will be the analyst course, which is now expanded from four days to five full days.

We heard more about CDR insurance and legal issues. CDR technology is rapidly becoming more and more accepted by the courts. Courtroom acceptance of “new” technologies has progressed from fingerprints, to ballistics, to DNA, to electronic data, and now to CDR technology. In addition to federal law, there are many states with new proposed laws mandating CDR information be collected and provided (some good law and some bad). CDR evidence has been used successfully in discovering, documenting, and prosecuting fraud in many cases. One of the issues that sometimes arises is, “who owns the data?” We do not perform a download without permission of the owner of the data.Insurance companies have the ability to request that their insured give permission for a download. Failure to comply with this request constitutes a failure to cooperate, which can mean a breech of contract and a cancellation of coverage. Experience has shown that the insured who refuses permission for a download generally withdraws their claim, rather than have the truth come to light.Another useful tool in this area is the Temporary Restraining Order. The TRO can be used to prevent data destruction by delaying the vehicle from being repaired, destroyed, or sold until after the download is completed. Another variation on the data ownership issue is the right of a lien holder to the data. It appears that the current trend is to recognize that the “right to possess” is a better qualification for the permission criteria, rather than who has a lien on the title. Correspondingly, we have never heard of a lien holder yet who refused to allow a download. Getting download permission from all the possible stakeholders early in the game makes life much simpler later.

The final item of general interest was a presentation on using data from GPS units for accident reconstructions. The presentation focused exclusively on research done on Garmin GPS units. When the user enters a destination and hits “go”, the Garmin will direct the driver to their destination using both oral and on screen directions. While this happens, the Garmin creates a log file, or a history of that trip. The Garmin records its position each time that it contacts the satellites. These positions may be 20-30 seconds apart if driving straight at a constant speed, or as frequently as every 2-3 seconds if accelerating on a curving freeway onramp. This history includes time, date, elevation, heading, and vehicle speed. Testing a dozen or so different Garmin models-new, old, expensive, and cheap, the researcher concluded that the recorded data was very accurate – very accurate, as in within 9 feet. This reinforces the fact that we need to start asking our clients if their driver was using a GPS unit, and if so, we need to try to download the data that it may contain.

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