Motor-Vehicle "Black Boxes" Could Collect Crash Data, Boost Safety

Compiled By Deborah Austin "Black boxes" in motor vehicles? The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Association has launched a project to create a universal standard for such devices, called motor vehicle event data recorders. The project, IEEE P1616 -- intended to help manufacturers develop the recorders for use in all types of roadway vehicles -- is pooling industry and government expertise to form an international minimum performance protocol. The standard would define what data the devices should capture -- and how it should be recorded and transmitted. Manufacturing participants include the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, General Motors, Honda and DaimlerChrysler. The more accurate the data regarding highway crashes, the better chance of reducing their devastation, says Jim Hall, IEEE P1616 Working Group co-chair. "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 subjective input from victims, eyewitnesses and police. IEEE, New York, is a nonprofit professional technical association.

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