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Monday, July 12, 2010

Black Box Video Recorders? No.

Intel is showing off a concept for an Event Data Recorder (EDR) which records in-cabin video as well as vehicle network data and GPS coordinates. (Story here)

This is not going to happen any time soon, unless of course Congress passes a law to require it, which they won't.  

The privacy advocates won't agree to video recording, and the expense of adding the hardware to the EDR module will be a strong deterrent to automakers, who will also lobby hard against it.  The trial lawyers will also try to kill it, because a video recorder would be typically be a witness against their plaintiff customers.

To encode video into a reasonably compact form, a standalone video processor chip would be required, such as are packaged into DVRs.  A ballpark price for one of these is probably in the $20 range.  In addition, enough flash memory would have to be added to store the video streams in addition to the vehicle data.  90s of video at reasonable resolution and quality would require several megabytes of flash, easily several more dollars per vehicle.

I also question the utility of recording GPS data.  A vehicle typically has a fairly accurate on board velocity estimate, which comes from the ABS wheel speed sensors.  Unless a driver is involved in a hit-and-run, it will be pretty obvious to accident investigators what the path of the vehicle was, based on external evidence and the on-board inertial signals which would normally be recorded in an EDR.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Please make a common ground on the serious issue that weather we install black box video recorders on cars or not because it the question of safety of consumers. If it help to solve problem in situation like accident then it will useful, but it will have to ensure that the privacy of the people will not be harmed.