Doesn’t Like Air Bag Logging Story
Two photos in the article Logging Your Every Driving Moment showing
the Vetronix system and the airbag control module against the black background
are ours and we hold the copyright to those photos. Where did you get them and
who do you contend gave you authority to use them?
We welcome accurate exposure of the technology,
the article you've published is filled with slanted misinformation at
The passage: "If in a
moment of inattention you collide with the back of another car, you won’t be
able to say that you were braking hard – not if the electronic record shows that
in fact you never even started to slow until the time of impact." In fact,
IF they were braking hard, they still could relay that fact or are you
suggesting one driver being disallowed the opportunity to distort the truth is
somehow better than another driver benefiting from that truth? Arguably,
another way to have written that might have been along the lines of "so a driver
runs into your back end, the data from his car would help make clear his
carelessness, his speed about the time of impact and the fact that he didn't
even brake when he rearended you." Or would you prefer he be allowed to
say you braked unreasonably and suddenly and YOU were the cause of the
You write: "Convicted by your car? – it’s more than just a
possibility, with one such case having already occurred in the US. There a
driver involved in a double fatality claimed he had been travelling at about 100
km/h. But the electronic record showed that in fact the speed of the car five
seconds before impact was 184 km/h..." For starters, no one is "convicted
by their car," if they drive irresponsibly, crash and are criminally charged,
they re convicted based on tire marks, bent metal, eyewitness accounts and
additionally the data...all facts leading to demonstrate their responsibility. I
have personally been involved in 15 criminal and civil cases across the US
relating specifically to this technology. In each case, there was other
"traditional crash evidence" developed as well.
And in the instance you
note, the name of that case is Florida v Matos and Mr Matos ADMITTED to driving
almost double the speed limit (at least 30km/h over the speed limit). His
own "expert" calculated his speed at double the limit and a bit more. The
investigating police conservatively calculated his speed at more than triple the
speed limit and the crash data objectively showed it just a little higher than
that. He drove irresponsibly, it wasn't the "data" or his "car" that put
him in jail, it was his behaviour and the fact that that behaviour cost two
other people their lives. Or would it be better he could lie about it and
get away free and clear?
Your article is factually incorrect asserting
that General Motors is not the only company embracing the technology. Ford
and Daimler Chrysler vehicles are among others similarly working with Vetronix
to make the crash data available and it won't be long before you see crash data
from Australian cars. Remember, Holden is part of GM.
refers to "near deployment" events. That name was changed nearly 3 years
ago to the more accurate "non-deployment." Where your article refers to
system "wakeup" in the passage "(ie enabling of the algorithm which
requires two consecutive acceleration samples of over 2g)" that is incorrect,
the wakeup threshold is lower. The passage "Most EDRs record speed only in
a longitudinal direction. Many accidents involve lateral and as well
longitudinal movement, and so the speed recording may give a false impression of
the events that occurred. No current Original Equipment EDRs are known to record
vertical accelerations" is incorrect. Assuming you meant "lateral" not actually
vertical which would be meaningless in a crash situation (no, rollovers are not
vertical, they are angular or rotational) some Ford and many GM units DO record
lateral acceleration. Some GM units also record some rollover data.
offer: "The use of only five data points for each of the parameters of speed,
rpm, throttle opening and brake status can give a false impression that the
behaviour of these parameters can be validly shown by a graph with these points
connected by a straight line – but of course these data might have been behaving
quite differently between the discrete points." Again, apparently using an
out-of-date reference, there IS no such graph as such currently developed
by the CDR system reporting function. The data table remains but the graph
has been removed from the formatted report.
And while there remain other
factual and technical inaccuracies, the entry "The storage and retrieval of EDR
data must protect the privacy rights of the individual in accordance with law"
bears addressing. There is simply NO privacy issue here. By any
measure, US, Canadian or Australian, privacy extends to the individual for
information that would otherwise BE private by virtue of its source of
nature. Your banking information, your name and date of birth, your home
number may be private information. What you are doing in your car on a public
road, in plain view where you have no expectation of privacy and where NO part
of the data retrieved from a car identifies you or any individual by name or in
any other way for that matter is simply not "an invasion of
We’d prefer not to have our intellectual property associated
with intellectual dishonesty. Please remove the photos from your article
Director, Collision Safety Institute
With reference to the Speedo Corrector
article, 'Speedo Check' markings along some highways can in fact be used to
calibrate a speedo. Consider this: At 100km/h, 100km = 60mins so 1km
= 0.6mins. For km/h speeds, all you need to know to work out the time for
any distance is the 6-times tables. For the standard length of 5km, 5 *.6
= 3 minutes. I have found the distance marking posts along the side of the
main highway near me to be useful as well, since you can time for a longer
distance and achieve greater accuracy. ie. 12km = 12 * 0.6 = 7.2 minutes =
7 minutes, 12 seconds. Its even easier for m/h as 60m/h =
The usual scenario is this: Set your cruise
control at 100 km/h, and time 5km. If you make the distance in under 3
minutes, you're going too fast. Simple and accurate.
My experience with speedos reading too fast is the
same as stated in the article. I have never been in a car with factory
tyres, diff and gerabox and found the speedo to read under, so there really is
no excuse for being a leadfoot if you set your speed by the dial.
Turbine Car 1
Guys? How can you leave us in suspense like
that? Where's your expert critique on the technology and why it isn't being used
(in cars) today? Where's the reference to record-breaking offshore race
boats or Chinook helicopters which use gas turbines, and your thoughts on
allying this technology (ideally suited to constant speed applications) with
modern hybrid thinking like GMs 'when-the-batteries-are-ready' Volt - which aims
to use a small engine to recharge the batteries - but with a turbine and battery
pack, not a piston engine (or like a full-hybrid diesel loco). Come on guys -
Follow up article please!
It’s on the list of ‘to-do’ articles.
Chrysler Turbine Car 2
Nice article about the Chrysler Turbine Car. I've
often wondered why nobody has tried a hybrid (Prius style) design - replacing
the piston motor with a (lighter and simpler) gas turbine. With the battery
powered electric boost you wouldn't have to worry about the relatively slow
spool up of the gas turbine.
Chrysler Turbine Car 3
read the Chrysler turbine car article and thought I'd mention that you can
actually experience a running example of this engine at the Swinburne University
Engineering lab (I presume it is still there and running). Mechanical
Engineering students who studied at Swinburne have probably done pracs using
this engine on an engine dyno (I did) - the starting sequence and sound is one
of the most amazing things I have ever experienced (make sure you've got your
One thing the article should have mentioned is that the
engine uses an epicyclic reduction gear set before it is connected to the auto
transmission - you wouldn't want to spin the auto input shaft at 45k
Re Another Human Powered Vehicle Part 1 -
Finding the Lightest Springs. Re Polycarbonate torsion bars. One way to
decrease the angel of twist on a torsion bar is to extend the length of the
control arm. What if the fulcrum was mounted on the opposite side of the
vehicle? – providing maximum control arm length. I’ve often wondered why more
manufactures don’t do this. Of cause it means having to get tricky the packaging
arms and location points. I noticed some late model fwd Volvos do so at the rear
with long alloy arms and coils.
That makes thing worse because the torsion is
twice as high...
Left Foot Braking
automatics set up for left foot braking?
After years of sore thighs and
displaced hips, I have to ask the question why aren’t automatic cars set up for
left foot braking? How about an extra wide pedal, or a second pedal set lower
next to the foot rest? Maybe AutoSpeed could cajole a manufacturer to come up
with a kit for a popular car (Falcadore?) and test it?
In my Falcon I
have to lift my leg and move it across to an uncomfortable position. And because
I can’t let it rest on the pedal, I have to hold it clear, causing muscle
strain. How I long for a brake pedal at the same height as the left foot rest
and about a centimetre away. And no, I am not a wuss; my old X1/9 with the
hydraulic clutch was way heavy, but didn’t cause any of these problems because
the pedal was correctly lined up with my leg.
Any advanced driving expert
will tell you left foot braking in an automatic is a no-brainer. Just the
reaction time saving from not having to lift your foot off the accelerator and
move it across to the brake is significant. When I’m driving down my suburban
road warily watching the kids playing footy in their front yard, I feel much
better having the left foot poised and ready.
And in these days of ABS,
if you panic and put both feet on the brake, it doesn’t matter! The only
downside is that I have been run up the arse cos my reaction time was so fast
when the knucklehead in front of me jumped on the brakes on the yellow light,
the other knucklehead behind couldn’t stop in time.
Anyway, I would
really like an article on braking techniques in AutoSpeed to finish off your
braking improvement string of stories.