Standard to define black boxes for cars

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association is working to create the first universal standard for motor vehicle event data recorders – much like those that monitor crashes on aircraft.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) has begun working to create the first universal standard for motor vehicle event data recorders (MVEDR) much like those that monitor crashes on aircraft.

The IEEE standards project, IEEE P1616 ‘Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorders,’ brings together industry and government experts to formulate a minimum performance protocol for the use of onboard tamper and crash-proof memory devices for all types and classes of highway and roadway vehicles.

The international standard aims to help manufacturers develop devices the public commonly refers to as ‘black boxes’ for autos, trucks, buses, ambulances, fire trucks and other vehicles.

The MVEDR standard will define what data should be captured, including date, time, location, velocity, heading, number of occupants and seat belt usage. It will also define how that information should be obtained, recorded and transmitted.

‘The more accurate the data we gather on highway crashes, the better chance we have to reduce the devastating effects of crashes,’ says Jim Hall, co-chair of the IEEE P1616 Working Group and former head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

‘That’s why it’s so important to have recorders that objectively track what goes on in vehicles before and during a crash to complement the subjective input we now get from victims, eye witnesses and police reports. The NTSB considers this so important that it features ‘automatic crash sensing and recording devices’ high on its current list of the ‘Most Wanted’ transportation safety improvements.’

IEEE P1616 has attracted interest and participation from a diverse range of public and private sector organisations and individual IEEE volunteers. These include NHTSA, TRB, FHWA, NTSB, the American Public Transportation Association, the American Automobile Association, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (which represents 13 automakers), Transport Canada, Booz Allen Hamilton, General Motors, Honda and Visteon.