‘Black Box’ in Woods SUV Could Yield Clues to Cause of Wreck

by akoloy

DETROIT—Investigators who’re wanting into the rollover crash that injured golf legend Tiger Woods will rely closely on knowledge saved within the Genesis SUV he was driving to determine what occurred.

The 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxurious model, is prone to have a more moderen model of occasion knowledge recorders nicknamed “black boxes” after extra subtle recorders in airplanes. They retailer a treasure trove of knowledge for authorities to overview.

There aren’t any U.S. laws requiring the bins, however the authorities does require the recorders to retailer 15 knowledge factors together with velocity earlier than impression and whether or not brake and gasoline pedals have been pressed.

The laws don’t cowl new partially automated programs that may management velocity, brake, and steer automobiles on freeways, they usually don’t handle cameras and radar utilized in these programs. But some autos retailer a number of the new programs’ knowledge.

Woods suffered a critical leg harm when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County street and rolled over on a downhill stretch identified for crashes. The county sheriff stated Woods was not drunk and was driving alone in good climate when the SUV hit a raised median, went throughout oncoming lanes and rolled a number of instances. The crash injured his proper leg, requiring surgical procedure.

It’s not clear how a lot of the crash Woods remembers, however the black field knowledge ought to have the ability to fill in gaps.

What Is An Event Data Recorder?

It’s a pc that shops knowledge from a car’s sensors that may be downloaded by law enforcement officials investigating a crash. The bins often are under the middle of the dashboard or beneath seats to be protected against harm.

Is There One In My Car?

Most doubtless sure. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says practically all autos have them now. Even through the 2005 mannequin yr, 64 % of autos had the bins. General Motors put the primary recorder in a car in 1994 that saved restricted knowledge, stated Richard Ruth, who runs a Washington-based consulting agency that does crash investigations and trains law enforcement officials in crash reconstruction.

Tiger Woods Vehicle Crash
A car relaxation on its aspect after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods alongside a street within the Rancho Palos Verdes part of Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2021. (KABC-TV by way of AP)

What Data Does It Store?

A federal regulation efficient with the 2013 mannequin yr requires occasion knowledge recorders to retailer 15 gadgets, together with velocity as much as 5 seconds earlier than impression, whether or not and the way a lot the gasoline pedal was pressed, whether or not the brakes have been utilized, whether or not the motive force’s seat belt was fixed, whether or not the entrance air baggage inflated and the way lengthy that took, and the change in ahead velocity. Newer variations of the bins can retailer sideways power taken from gyroscopes, measuring how briskly a car rolled over or whether or not antilock brakes and stability management have been working.

What Did The SUV Woods Was Driving Store?

A Genesis spokesman wouldn’t say, however Ruth stated different fashions made by Hyundai and affiliated automaker Kia file greater than the required knowledge. Some file steering angle earlier than the crash, which might present how a lot the motive force tried to keep away from a crash, he stated. The Kia Forte compact automotive, for instance, information how a lot strain was on the brake pedal so investigators can see how exhausting a driver was braking. Newer autos just like the Genesis SUV are geared up with automated emergency braking and different security programs from which the field might additionally file knowledge. But Ruth stated that varies by automaker and he’s undecided how a lot was recorded within the Genesis. Data might be saved from radar and cameras from superior cruise management programs, and from extra superior accelerometers and gyroscopes, stated Scott Martin, an assistant analysis engineer in Auburn University’s GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory. Some General Motors, Subaru, and probably Toyota autos file photos earlier than, throughout or after a crash, Ruth stated. Sometimes these are saved exterior of the info recorder.

Should The Government Require More Data To Be Stored?

Ruth says that will be useful in crash investigations and in constructing databases to stop or mitigate crashes. But Ruth additionally stated such storage can be controversial due to privateness considerations. For occasion, cameras in some autos now monitor whether or not the motive force is listening to the street, however folks may not need that data to be retrieved. Many drivers wouldn’t need police to have the ability to routinely entry their speeds, particularly in sports activities automobiles, Ruth stated. “Customers probably don’t want cops or anyone else particularly knowing how fast they were going,” he stated. Currently the occasion knowledge recorders can solely be accessed after a crash, with permission from a car proprietor or by court docket order, he stated.

By Tom Krisher

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