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Discussion Starter #1
Now I know that my boat GPS/Plotter keeps a record of time, speed, and track back about 100 hours of operation more or less depending on the number of waypoints I have stored, and preferred routes saved (available memory space).

The planes I fly for a living do all that and much more in a crash-proof recorder, but what I am taking about would be in the non-volitile memory of the GPS system itself.

Is there any of that going on in the #9 Nav System on my Prius? And who could get to it? Could the data there be recovered after an accident/crash and be used for or against me?

Michael,
(busy selling my Porsches and Mercedes after driving my Prius for a couple of weeks.)
 

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Big Brother

That's silly. The GPS in the airplanes you fly do not save information for downloading. If that were the case, the manufacturers would be bragging about it and the gummint would be using it in accident investigations right now.
 

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There are no current plans, that I know of, to capture large amounts of GPS data.

I have heard about two initiatives that might interest you.

* In the US, there are requests to create auto versions of the airplane "black box" -- not to capture your constant whereabouts, but to capture real-time info at the moment of crash (acceleration, position of controls, speed) much as is done in airplanes. I forget whether it's the gummint, insurance companies, or lawyers who wanted this.

* In the UK, the gummint does want to require the installation of live, continuous-feed GPS units to allow for usage-sensitive tolls. All motorways would become toll roads, and you'd get a bill from the Queen each month.

I don't want to start a fight with this information, but it's what I know...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Re: Big Brother

bobmrg said:
That's silly. The GPS in the airplanes you fly do not save information for downloading. If that were the case, the manufacturers would be bragging about it and the gummint would be using it in accident investigations right now.
Well, Bob, in spite of being in Renton, I'm afraid you are behind the times. The GPS systems in anything manufactured or retrofitted with modern Flight Management Systems DO IN FACT keep track of GPS data in 3 dimensions (four if you include time as an dimension). And yes, thank gawd, they are used in accident investigations. I don't know why manufacturers would brag about that, it is a fact of life. Every modern transport aircraft (including the ones that I fly) have this ability.

What I was asking, was is this data held in our cars somewhere? I'd be surprised if it wasn't.

The articles I've seen lately are that some insurance companies are taking volunteers to have their driving habits monitored in exchange for a discount.

I KNOW that some major rental car companies in the states are installing GPS monitors in their cars to track actual useage (you know, the things you agreed NOT to do in that rental car).
 

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In Mexico, where truck hijacking is a big problem, freight trucks (at least with some companies) have GPS plus communications so that a central office of the trucking company can track the location of the truck in real time. I know this because a friend of mine had a job, briefly, monitoring this information, so that a truck that went off its planned route could be reported to the police as apparently hijacked. The government had no involvement in the tracking.

There are some intrusions on citizen privacy that I deeply resent and oppose. But a black box that would print you out a traffic ticket any time you went more than 5 mph over the speed limit seems like a good idea to me, as long as it gathers no other information than a traffic cop would have who observed your car speeding.
 

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Re: Big Brother

singpilot said:
Well, Bob, in spite of being in Renton, I'm afraid you are behind the times. The GPS systems in anything manufactured or retrofitted with modern Flight Management Systems DO IN FACT keep track of GPS data in 3 dimensions (four if you include time as an dimension).
Don't forget Yaw Pitch and Roll for a total of 6 axis of data.

bobmrg said:
If that were the case, the manufacturers would be bragging about it and the gummint would be using it in accident investigations right now.
Manufacturers are already bragging about it (well, not really bragging) and the police are already using it for/against people in investigations. Last I heard all GM cars built since the late 90's have had "black boxes" in them. There was a recent case where all the eye witnesses said the driver of a car was going way too fast, but the box confirmed the drivers story and he wasn't charged.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Actually, most of the new black boxes (orange actually) record 28 channels or more of data. The actual speed, direction, and GPS altitude are recorded as well as the FMS speed, direction and pressure altitude as reported by the air data computers.

I would believe the GM black box story. When I lived in Hawaii, there were newspaper stories about the rental car companies sending sizeable bills to renters after they left the island after downloading data from the cars. There is 5 miles of coastal dirt road on the north shore of Oahu that you, as a renter, are specifically prohibited from driving on. It is the only way to circumnavigate the island. Most everyone actually does it, but the car companies were billing several hundred dollars for an 'inspection' after the car had been driven on a dirt road. Most contracts these days do prohibit driving on a dirt road.

So at this point, no one actually 'knows' if anything is stored in our non-volitile memories about location history?
 

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singpilot said:
...Is there any of that going on in the #9 Nav System on my Prius? And who could get to it? Could the data there be recovered after an accident/crash and be used for or against me?

Interesting question, and one I started wondering about the other day when I read an article about insurance companies requesting Nav data and the "black box" engine control data more often after accidents. Seems there's more there than most people think.

I also remember one of the rental car companies using GPS data from a returned car to categorize renters as "high risk" (for speeding) and declining to rent to them again. Not sure how much truth there was to that story, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit.

Geoff
 

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I heard that all new cars with smart air bags record; speed, braking and acceleration. They store the last 10 – 15 seconds of data in case of a crash.
 

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hyperion said:
Does any honest person really care?
Absolutely. There's an underlying assumption that electroinc information is both accurate and deterministic. In many cases, neither is true, because the systems weren't designed for the puspose they are now being used for. It's a GPS system, not a crash recorder, and I guarantee you the code's never been audited for its accuracy or correctness in determining the speed or trajectory of a vehicle at the time of a crash. That's simply not what the product was designed to do.

For example... Suppose there's a difference of opinion after a crash about the speed of the car at the time of the accident. The driver says he was doing the posted 35 mph limit, but the GPS data says he was doing 40. Now suppose the GPS update interval is 3 seconds, and it just so happens that in that three seconds prior to the crash the driver decellerated quickly because he saw the potential for an accident. Everybody in the world gets their hands on the GPS data because we have yet to establish who owns it, and wanna bet you're going to be in court not only defending yourself, but trying to disprove the validity of the GPS data?

My point is, if you are going to equip a car with crash monitoring data recorders then they should be designed (and audited) specifically for this purpose. The ownership of that data should be established, and owners should be made aware of exactly what is collected, how long it's stored, and who has access to the data and for what purpose. So far none of this is happening, and it's worrisome, at least to some of us.

Geoff
(an honest person)
 

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If the driver was going 40 mph 3 seconds before the crash, and slammed on the brakes in the moments prior, that driver was breaking the law, and it's right and proper the court know that information. Granted, that 5 mph over the limit is so common now that I suspect speed limits are generally set 5 mph below what's considered safe, but I was just using your example.

However, I agree that proper crash recorders should be in all cars, along with a breathalyzer that would prohibit an intoxicated person from starting the car.

P.S. I am not an honest person. I routinely drive over the speed limit, I jaywalk regularly, I consume far more than my fair share of the world's resources, I have not worked nearly enough in my life to justify the amount of money I have, I have committed crimes which are irrelevant to this discussion, and I would cheat on my taxes if I thought I could get away with it. But when it comes to traffic safety, I'd gladly accept Big Brother's surveillance of my car if it was imposed on all those other morons out there as well.
 

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GeoffM said:
driver says he was doing the posted 35 mph limit, but the GPS data says he was doing 40.
Why would anyone use a GPS for getting velocity data? I don't know if you know this but they invented this wacky thing back in 1916 called the speedometer. It has the amazing ability to measure how fast you are going! Wow! GPS data is usless in a crash because it's not real-time and it's not accurate. And I don't think the GPS unit would be very effective when your car is rolling. Also, from ane engineering standpoint I don't think the "black box" would even record GPS data since not all priuses (prii?) come with the GPS unit, so every car probably has a "black box" unit that only records the generic data for the standard features. I bet they don't even record the extra airbag sensor data as well. :wink:
 

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Fire Elemental said:
GeoffM said:
driver says he was doing the posted 35 mph limit, but the GPS data says he was doing 40.
Why would anyone use a GPS for getting velocity data? I don't know if you know this but they invented this wacky thing back in 1916 called the speedometer.
Excellent question, and one you might want to consider asking the insurance companies that are actively requesting GPS system data after an accident. That's what got this thread started - an article about insurance companies requesting GPS and ECU data after a collision, and their right to access and use this information as they see fit, no matter the accuracy, relevance or original intended use.

I'm with Daniel on this one. If we're going to have third-party monitoring, I want a level playing field where we ALL get monitored.

Geoff
 

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With any "automatic" system of charging violations, such as discussed in this thread, you have to be careful about the tendency of government employees to stick to procedures, and ignore common sense.

There's a case in our local area where a person "A" sold his car to another person "B". Before the 4-6 week period where the dmv finishes transferring all paperwork, "B" got caught by a traffic camera, and a ticket was issued.

Because paperwork hadn't finished yet, the ticket was issued to and sent to "A". At that point "A" was in a guilty until proved innocent situation. The traffic court does have a system where you can certify that you sold the car before the ticket was issued. But apparently to fill out that form, you need the drivers license number and birthdate of the second person, "B".

But the dmv paperwork for selling a car between individuals doesn't require the buyers driver license number and birthdate, so "A" couldn't fill out the form. He tried to talk to people, but nothing happened. So his license was suspended, and he has to take time off from work to go before a judge and hope to find someone with common sense.
 

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mycroft said:
... So his license was suspended, and he has to take time off from work to go before a judge and hope to find someone with common sense.
Good luck finding any common sense from a judge!
 
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