President’s Message: CDR Users Summit 2012

Feb 2, 2012 by

Last month I attended the 2012 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.  While most of the presentations were specifically useful to Bosch CDR users, some of the information may be of interest to you as well.

First, we heard about the “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020”. This is a program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the FIA Foundation.  This is an international effort.

From their website:

Nearly 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year.

Up to 50 million people are injured, and many remain disabled for life.

90% of casualties from road deaths occur in developing countries.

Annual road traffic deaths are forecast to rise to 1.9 million people by 2020.

Road traffic injuries are the number one cause of death for young people worldwide.

By 2015 road traffic injuries will be the leading health burden for children over the age of five years in developing countries.

The economic cost to developing countries is at least $100 billion a year.

Road traffic injuries place an immense burden on hospitals and health systems generally.

A global Action Plan includes practical measures which, if implemented, could save millions of lives.


The action plan includes five areas of action.  The first is road safety management (including better data collection, reporting, and analysis) to pinpoint the areas of most concern.  Many countries do not accurately track such data, so this is a major effort.

The second area is road safety & mobility improvement.  Safer roads include protecting pedestrians and cyclists by designated traffic lanes, barriers, and pedestrian overpasses.  It is estimated that improving the world’s 10% high risk roads could prevent 1 million deaths per year.

The third area is safer vehicles. Third world cars are not as safe as their first world counterparts.  This will change. We take seatbelts, air bags, ABS & ESC for granted, but they are not universally installed in every vehicle, especially in undeveloped countries.

The fourth area is safer road users.  Seatbelt usage, alcohol abuse education, and motorcycle helmet usage are areas  that provide a tremendous payback for the effort involved.  Who of us hasn’t seen a video of a family of 5 hanging onto a Cambodian scooter in rush hour?

The last area is post crash response.  Prompt first aid is the major factor in survivability of a crash.  Many developing countries focus on infectious disease management, but do not have first responder capabilities anywhere near  what is needed.  Building this level of infrastructure is a worthy goal that will ultimately save thousands of lives that are currently lost.

In summary, the Decade of Action for Road Safety is an international effort that should save thousands of lives.

Returning to the conference theme, as you may already know, Federal Rule 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, Chrysler, and Toyota 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. This includes vehicle speed, seatbelt usage, brake usage, throttle position, etc.

The current technology offered by Bosch allows us to image the data for a large number of current GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota 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 at the conference from Bosch is that they have made an agreement with Honda/Acura to provide this commercially available download capability.  While we are happy with that announcement, the implementation will take a while and will cover only Honda/Acura 2012 models.  We don’t expect to see much future coverage for pre-2012 models.  Bosch is in serious discussions with another handful of OEMs, so we are still hopeful for more announcements as the deadline approaches.

We also heard from the chairman of the SAE Event Data Recorder Committee.  This focuses on EDR issues and team members include OEMs, suppliers, consulting firms, and government liaisons.  Objectives include creating proper definitions, recording retrieval methodologies, assessment of performance of 49 CFR Part 563, and exploring future technologies for potential parameters.  There are some 30 members and 5 distinct task forces.  The speaker outlined some of the task forces operations and contributions, as well as some of their challenges.

As an example, how do you write a definition or a standard, good for several years, that will be applicable industry-wide across all platforms on a topic such as lane departure warning that most OEMs consider to be proprietary information?  And get buy-in from the government on definitions and minimum performance standards?  It is a complicated process, but they look to be up to the task. The regulatory landscape has a lot of hearings and proposals on the calendar, it is good to know that SAE is heavily involved.