DETROIT – Investigators investigating the accident that injured injured golf legend Tiger Woods will rely heavily on data stored in the Genesis SUV he drives to find out what happened.
The luxury brand Hyundai’s 2021 Genesis GV80 is likely to have a newer version of event data recorders nicknamed the “black box” after more sophisticated recorders on airplanes. They store a treasure trove of data that the authorities can review.
There are no U.S. regulations mandating the boxes, but the government does require the recorders to store 15 data points, including the speed before impact and whether the brake and accelerator pedals were pressed.
The regulations do not apply to new partially automated systems that can control speed, brake, and steer cars on highways, and they do not address cameras and radar used in these systems. However, some vehicles store some data from the new systems.
Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving pulled off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a well-known ramp downhill. The county sheriff said Woods was not drunk and was driving alone in good weather when the SUV hit an elevated mean, drove over oncoming lanes and rolled several times. The accident injured his right leg and required an operation.
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center announced that Woods was being transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Thursday to “continue orthopedic care and recovery.” The hospital did not provide any further details and said it respected patient confidentiality.
It’s not clear how much of the crash Woods is recalling, but the black box data should be able to fill in gs.
WHAT IS AN EVENT DATA RECORDER?
It’s a computer that stores data from a vehicle’s sensors that can be downloaded by police officers investigating an accident. The boxes are usually located below the center of the dashboard or under seats to protect against damage.
IS THERE ONE IN MY CAR?
Most likely yes. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says almost all vehicles now have them. Even in the 2005 model year, 64% of the vehicles had the boxes. General Motors put the first recorder in a vehicle that had limited data on it in 1994, said Richard Ruth, who runs a Washington, DC-based consulting firm that conducts crash investigations and trains police officers in crash reconstruction.
WHAT DATA DOES IT STORE?
A federal regulation that comes into force in the 2013 model year stipulates that event data recorders must store 15 items, including the speed up to five seconds before the impact, whether and how hard the accelerator pedal was pressed, whether the brakes were pressed, whether the The driver’s seat belt was fastened, whether the front airbags were inflated and how long it took, and the change in forward speed. Newer versions of the boxes can store the lateral force of gyroscopes and measure how quickly a vehicle was rolled over or whether anti-lock brakes and stability control were working.
WHAT DID THE SUV WOODS RIDE?
A Genesis spokesperson wouldn’t say that, but Ruth said other models from Hyundai and its affiliate automaker Kia are recording more than what is required. Some record steering angles before the accident that would show how hard the driver tried to avoid an accident, he said. The compact car Kia Forte, for example, records how much pressure was applied to the brake pedal so that investigators can see how hard a driver has braked.
Newer vehicles like the Genesis SUV are equipped with automatic emergency braking and other safety systems, from which the box can also record data. But Ruth said that varies by automaker and he’s not sure how much was recorded in the Genesis. Data could be stored by radar and cameras from advanced cruise control systems, as well as more advanced accelerometers and gyroscopes, said Scott Martin, assistant research engineer in the GPS and vehicle dynamics lab at Auburn University.
Some General Motors, Subaru, and possibly Toyota vehicles record images before, during, or after an accident, Ruth said. Sometimes these are saved outside of the data recorder.
SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT REQUIRE MORE DATA?
Ruth says this would be useful in crash research and building databases to prevent or mitigate crashes. But Ruth also said that such storage would be controversial for data protection reasons. For example, cameras in some vehicles are now monitoring that the driver is paying attention to the road, but users may not want this information to be obtained.
Many drivers don’t want the police to have routine access to their speeds, especially in sports cars, Ruth said. “Customers probably don’t want police officers or anyone else to know how fast they are traveling,” he said. Currently, the incident data recorders can only be accessed after an accident, with the approval of a vehicle owner or by court order, he said.