You must have heard about black boxes whenever news about a plane crash surfaces. Black boxes are essentially the Event Data Recorders (EDR) which survive the most adverse of circumstances, including crashes. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed similar EDRs for vehicles.
Black boxes in road vehicles is not a new notion. Companies such as Ford already install such boxes in a number of their vehicles to gather data about the car’s performance, especially if it suffers from a critical failure at any point.
However, many have criticized the use of black boxes in vehicles, citing that they infringe on the privacy of the consumers and the data contained through them can eventually be misused by the car vendors. Car vendors, on the other hand, cite that the data from black boxes is obtained with the explicit permission of the consumers.
According to a spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, “Event data recorders help our engineers understand how cars perform in the real world, but looking forward, we need to make sure we preserve privacy. Automakers do not access EDR data without consumer permission, and any government requirements to install EDRs on all vehicles must include steps to protect consumer privacy.”
Criticism has also been directed to the proposed regulation by NHTSA, which says that installing EDRs in all new trucks and cars must be made mandatory. If the proposal regulation is passed by the relevant bodies, it would go into effect by September 1, 2014.
Courtesy: Slash Gear