Oct 30, 2013
Black boxes have silently ridden shotgun in many 4-wheeled vehicles for about two decades and serve to record what was happening to the vehicle during a particular event.
Vehicle-based EDRs were designed to give automakers feedback on how and when airbags deployed, in order to improve the technology and make vehicles safer. EDR data were instrumental, for example, in development of the dual-stage or "smart" airbag, which deploys at one of two speeds, or not at all, depending on the severity of a collision. This helps reduce the number of airbag-related injuries to adults and children.
Automakers also use EDR data to track manufacturing defects and issue recalls. For instance, the data provided by these devices proved critical in the federal investigation into the unintended-acceleration controversy that has affected Toyota vehicles over the past few years.