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Black boxes get green light [car crash data recorders]

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According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 65 percent of 2004 model year cars sold in the United States have some sort of event data recorder. Yet the average driver has no idea that in the event of a crash, a record of how the car was being driven in the moments just before impact has been created and is stored onboard. Often, people learn of the box's existence only when a lawyer introduces the data it contains in court to back up their version of events. At present, the recorders' capabilities vary widely. The IEEE effort aims to make it possible to gather the same pieces of information from any crash. The IEEE 1616 standard creates a baseline for what data - say, velocity, engine revolutions per minute, throttle position, use of brakes or seat belts - recorders will store and for how tamper-proof and crash-proof the boxes must be.

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IEEE Spectrum  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 12 )