New Technology to Increase Fuel Economy

An exciting new technology is being developed by scientists at Sandia National Laboratories that shows great promise in improving fuel economy in passenger vehicles. Its called Low-temperature gasoline combustion (LTGC) and the technology deals with altering the fuel combustion in gasoline powered engines to operate at lower temperatures. Spark ignition engines, commonly found in passenger vehicles across the globe, create a significant amount of heat during the ignition cycle of the engine that produces power. The heat generated by the ignition cycle of the engine can be described as wasted thermal energy – energy that could otherwise be used to produce power to move a vehicle. The team from Sandia National Laboratories is developing a new technology that works by lowering the temperatures at which combustion ingredients enter the cylinder combustion chamber, providing lower temperature exhaust gases to be expelled after combustion. Lowering the combustion temperature positively affects the fuel economy of the engine, increasing the efficiency of the combustion cycle. Engines using the new technology are being developed to meet an automotive industry goal of cleaner emissions and an average of 54.5 mpg fuel economy by 2025. One of the greatest challenges faced by the scientists at Sandia is producing consistent engine combustion power at low engine speed, or RPM’s. The new technology doesn’t require the use of spark plugs to ignite fuel in the combustion chamber. It is difficult to ignite fuel in the combustion chamber cleanly or uniformly at low engine speeds. The ignition of fuel mixed with combustion air also needs to be completed in time for the compression of the engine piston to take place, requiring uniform fuel / air mixture and proper fuel atomization. Other types of fuel have been tested that provide better combustion stability at low engine speeds. These fuels include: ethanol, cyclohexane, toluene, among others. -from: Machine Design

Crash Prompts Lawsuit Against Apple

A lawsuit recently filed in California is against Apple and its Facetime technology used on their Iphone devices. Apple is being sued for allegedly having the technology to effectively disable the Facetime technology when used in an unsafe environment, such as when driving a vehicle, but according to the suit, Apple disregarded implementing this technology. Facetime is a technology used on Apple’s Iphones that allows the user to talk with another phone user who also has Facetime using the Iphone camera to transmit live video allowing the users to visually observe each other in real time while on the phone. Facetime users typically point the phones at themselves so that the other user can see their face during the conversation. Actively pointing the Iphone at the user’s face requires some attention to be taken away from whatever the user is doing, not to mention the use of a free hand. Using Facetime while driving could distract the driver from focusing on the road, which is what happened in an accident in which the plaintiffs against Apple were involved. James and Bethany Modisette were in their car with their two children in December 2014, when struck from behind by an inattentive driver who claimed he was distracted by using the Facetime app on his Iphone at the time of the accident. One of the Modesette children, Moriah, was killed as a result of the accident. The Modisettes are suing Apple for having the technology available to disable Facetime, but not implementing the technology, allowing Facetime to be used and be a contributing factor to the accident in which their daughter was killed. Apple was granted a patent for the technology to disable applications on their devices based on where the device was being used in April of 2014. The suit claims that proper application of the technology to disable applications such as Facetime would have effectively protected against the accident in question. Taken from Jalopnik

“Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock”

Now that spring is here and the temperatures across the nation are rising, the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is again warning parents and caregivers of young children that leaving children unattended in a parked car, even for short periods, can cause heatstrokes that can often be fatal. Data from the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences show that since 1998, there have been 637 deaths in the United States resulting from adults leaving a young child in a vehicle. In 2014, 30 lives were lost and one death has already occurred this year. There are also far too many “close calls” that fortunately do not result in tragic deaths, but can cause serious injury, including permanent brain injury, blindness, and the loss of hearing, among others. It doesn’t take much to lose a child to heatstroke. When outside temperatures are in the low 80’s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes, even with a window rolled down two inches. Children’s bodies in particular overheat easily, and infants and children under four years old are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness. When a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, they die. Heatstroke death and injuries often occur after a child gets into an unlocked vehicle to play without a parent or caregiver’s knowledge. Other incidents can occur when a parent or caregiver who is not used to transporting a child as part of their daily routine inadvertently forgets a sleeping child in the back seat of the vehicle. Heatstroke tragedies are 100 percent preventable. NHTSA urges parents and caregivers to take the following precautions to prevent heatstroke incidents from occurring:
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
  • Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn’t show up for care as expected;
  • Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat; and
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.
  • In addition, NHTSA urges community members who see a child alone in a hot vehicle to immediately call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.
Three years ago, NHTSA launched a public education campaign, “Where’s Baby? Look Before you Lock,” in the hope that the simple tips from this campaign will save lives and help families avoid unnecessary heartache. This year’s campaign will be supported by online and radio ads starting Monday May 11 and will run for 18 weeks to September 13. To learn more about NHTSA’s “Where’s Baby? Look before you Lock.” campaign, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/nhtsa-child-heatstroke-advisory-2015

DOT announces $10M fine for Graco car seat recall

Graco Children’s Products has been fined $10 million after the company failed to provide timely notification of a defect in more than 4 million car seats. Graco must pay a fine of $3 million immediately to the Federal Government and an additional $7 million is due in five years unless they spend at least the same amount on new steps to improve child safety. The penalties close an investigation launched last year by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into whether the company failed its obligations, under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, to begin what ended up as the largest ever recall of child seats. The seats had buckles that could stick or become stuck in a latched position, potentially placing child occupants at risk in an emergency. Parents need to know that the seats they trust to protect their children are safe, and that when there’s a problem, the manufacturer will meet its obligations to fix the defect quickly. Graco will create a plan and procedures for addressing certain targeted performance requirements, which may include methods to increase effectiveness of consumer product registration of car seats, which allows parents to be notified of defects, identifying potential safety trends affecting car seats industry wide and launching a child safety awareness campaign. According to NHTSA, on average, only 40 percent of people who have recalled car seats get them fixed. That’s in comparison to an average of 75 percent of people who have recalled light vehicles, for which registration is required by law. The company also must provide certification from an independent, third-party that it has met its cost obligations; if Graco fails to meet those obligations, it must pay the balance of the $10 million civil penalty. The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act states that once a manufacturer knows or should reasonably know that an item of motor vehicle equipment, such as a car seat, contains a safety related defect, the manufacturer has a maximum of five business days to notify the agency. Once it notifies NHTSA of a defect, it is required to launch a recall. Under the consent order issued today, Graco admits that it did not provide the required defect notice. Under pressure from NHTSA, Graco recalled more than 4 million convertible and booster seats with defective buckles in February 2014, and nearly an additional 2 million rear facing infant seats in June. NHTSA launched an investigation into the timeliness of Graco’s decision making and reporting of a defect in those recalls in December. With this consent order, Graco is required to pay a $3 million civil penalty, and to commit at least $7 million to meet targeted performance obligations, over the next five years. Those obligations may include: · Improving its assessment and identification of potential safety defects. · Creating a scientifically tested program to increase effectiveness of child seat registration programs. · Revising its procedures for addressing consumer safety complaints and speed the recall of defective products. · Launching a campaign to disseminate safety messages to parents and caregivers by producing media products to incorporate in child safety campaigns.  

Bosch CDR Version 16.0.1

A new CDR software patch is now available for downloading from the Bosch Diagnostics website. Changes for CDR version 16.0.1 include:

2015 Ford Fiesta – changed EDR translation memory locations for RCM software part number AV1T-14C028-CB

2015 Ford Transit & Transit Connect – resolved an error opening a CDR file on some vehicles where a fault code was recorded in an EDR record

Refer to the “What’s New in this Version” section of the CDR help file for details.

Please visit our website and click on the link (CDR v16.0.1) to download the patch:

http://www.boschdiagnostics.com/software/pages/CDR_software.aspx

Current Release

CDR v16.0 System Software

CDR v16.0.1 Software Patch (requires installation of 16.0)

Note: You MUST have CDR v16.0 installed prior to installing the CDR v16.0.1 software patch. You do not need a new activation certificate.

The Bosch CDR system supports select airbag modules for vehicle as far back as 1996. To see if the pre-crash data from your vehicle’s airbag module can be downloaded please see the BOSCH CDR Coverage List. Veritech engineers utilize the Bosch CDR system as an important tool to aid in performing vehicle accident reconstructions. Airbag modules are capable of recording valuable pre-crash information, such as vehicle speed, brake application and seatbelt usage, but are not capable of telling the entire story. Accident reconstruction engineers must still consider all of the available physical evidence, along with the ACM data, in to order to properly reconstruct an accident. Veritech Consulting Engineering employs Professional Engineers who are specifically trained and certified in the use of the Bosch CDR system and have performed numerous accident reconstructions utilizing airbag module information. Click on the following link for more information on “black box” technology.  

Bosch Annouces Release of Version 16.0 Software

Bosch announces the release of CDR Ver. 16.0 Bosch is pleased to announce the release of the new CDR software version 16.0 software. What’s new for CDR Version 16.0? This new version of CDR software provides EDR readout for Bentley and Lamborghini vehicles. In addition, 2016 model year coverage was added for several OEMs. Refer to the CDR Help File for more detailed coverage information. New Vehicle Coverage Audi (MY2016, US/Canada markets) – A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3 and Q5 vehicles Bentley (MY2016, US/Canada markets) – Mulsanne BMW (MY2014, US/Canada markets) – i3 & i8 Ford / Lincoln (MY2015/2016, US/Canada markets) – 2015 Ford Focus – 2016 Ford Edge – 2016 Lincoln MKX General Motors (MY2016, US/Canada markets) – Various Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMCs were added Honda / Acura (MY2016, US/Canada markets) – Acura ILX – Acura MDX – Acura RDX – Acura RLX – Honda Accord – Honds Civic – Honda Fit – Honda HRV Lamborghini (MY2015, US/Canada markets) – Huracan Mazda (MY2016, US/Canada markets) – CX-3 – CX-5 – Mazda2 – Mazda3 – Mazda6 Nissan (MY2016, US/Canada markets) – 370Z Coupe & Roadster Volkswagen (MY2014, US/Canada markets) – Routan   The Bosch CDR system supports select airbag modules for vehicle as far back as 1996. To see if the pre-crash data from your vehicle’s airbag module can be downloaded please see the BOSCH CDR Coverage List. Veritech engineers utilize the Bosch CDR system as an important tool to aid in performing vehicle accident reconstructions. Airbag modules are capable of recording valuable pre-crash information, such as vehicle speed, brake application and seatbelt usage, but are not capable of telling the entire story. Accident reconstruction engineers must still consider all of the available physical evidence, along with the ACM data, in to order to properly reconstruct an accident. Veritech Consulting Engineering employs Professional Engineers who are specifically trained and certified in the use of the Bosch CDR system and have performed numerous accident reconstructions utilizing airbag module information. Click on the following link for more information on “black box” technology.  

Honda Fined $70 Million for Failing to Comply with Laws That Safeguard the Public

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that as a result of a NHTSA investigation, Honda will pay two $35 million civil penalties, for a total of $70 million, for failing to report deaths, injuries, and certain warranty claims to the federal government in violation of the TREAD Act. In the Consent Order, Honda also agreed to increased NHTSA oversight and third party audits to ensure that all required reporting is completed now and into the future. In 2014 alone, NHTSA issued more than $126 million in civil penalties, exceeding the total amount collected by the agency during its forty-three year history.  These fines reflect the tough stance we will take against those who violate the law and fail to do their part in the mission to keep Americans safe on the road. NHTSA’s investigation into Honda’s safety reporting found that the automaker failed to submit early warning reports (EWR reports) identifying potential or actual safety issues. The first civil penalty is a result of Honda’s failure to report 1,729 death and injury claims to NHTSA between 2003 and 2014. The second civil penalty is due to the manufacturer’s failure to report certain warranty claims and claims under customer satisfaction campaigns throughout the same time period. Additional details are available in the audit report prepared for Honda by Bowman and Brooke and in Honda’s Response to NHTSA’s Special Order addressing the violations. Federal law requires manufacturers to submit comprehensive EWR reports of potential safety concerns to the Department. These quarterly reports include production information; incidents involving a death or injury; aggregate data on property damage claims, consumer complaints, warranty claims, and field reports; and, copies of field reports involving specified vehicle components, a fire, or a rollover. The data are then used to investigate whether safety defects or defect trends exist and warrant further action, including possible recalls. In addition to civil penalties, Honda has been ordered to comply with NHTSA oversight requirements under a Consent Order. It requires that Honda develop written procedures for compliance with EWR requirements, train appropriate personnel on at least an annual basis, and complete two third-party audits of the automaker’s compliance with its reporting obligations. The Consent Order also requires Honda to provide NHTSA’s Early Warning Division with information regarding the 1,729 unreported death and injury incidents and the warranty claims, so that the agency can analyze these incidents for potential safety concerns and take appropriate action to protect America’s driving public. While 2014 was a record year for civil penalties, the fines are limited by a Congressionally-established $35 million dollar cap, the amount Honda will pay for each of the two series of violations. The Administration’s four-year reauthorization bill – the GROW AMERICA Act – proposes to increase the limit to $300 million. The Administration’s proposal also seeks additional authority to aid NHTSA in its efforts to force recalls. NHTSA issued the following civil penalties in 2014:
  • Honda, $70,000,000, for failing to both submit early warning reports and warranty claims.
  • Gwinnett Place Nissan, $110,000, for failing to perform recall remedy in new motor vehicles prior to sale and delivery.
  • Ferrari S.p.A. and Ferrari North America, Inc, $3,500,000, for failing to submit early warning reports.
  • Chapman Chevrolet LLC, $50,000, for failing to perform recall remedy in new motor vehicles prior to sale and delivery.
  • Hyundai Motor America, $17,350,000, for the failure to issue a recall in a timely manner.
  • General Motors Company, $35,000,000, for the failure to issue a recall in a timely manner.
  • General Motors Company, $441,000, for failing to fully respond to Special Order by due date.
  • Prevost, a division of Volvo Group Canada, Inc; Volvo Industrial de Mexico S.A. de C.V.; and Prevost Car (US) Inc., $250,000, the second of six annual installments of a total of $1.5 million in civil penalties, for untimely recalls and untimely submission of early warning reports, and technical service bulletins (TSBs).
  • Southern Honda Powersports (a/k/a Big Red Powersports LLC), $25,000, the second of five annual installments of a total of $125, 000 in civil penalties, for the sale of unrepaired, recalled vehicles.

Bundling For the Cold with Children in Safety Seats

With temperatures falling below freezing, heavy winter jackets are a necessity to keep warm, but they can create dangers for children in car seats. “The risk of using a bulky jacket or a blanket under the harness is that it’s going to actually introduce slack and that harness isn’t going to be as snug as it should be on the child,” said Britney Lombard, a Child Passenger Safety Technician. While that might not sound like a very big deal, the extra space will allow your child to move around a lot more in the event of a crash. “When you add in a coat, that adds in a little extra bulk which would compress with the force of a crash and it can cause anywhere from minor to serious injuries including even ejection out of the car seat,” Lombard said. She offered some tips to keep your child warm and safe without putting them in danger. “One solution would be to just take the child’s jacket off when you get to the car seat, buckle them in nice and snug and put the jacket on backwards on their arms over the top of the secured harness,” she said. “You can also use a warm blanket instead of a jacket and just kind of tuck it around the edges so that it doesn’t go under or behind the child.” For more resources or to find a Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area who can check to make sure your child’s car seat is installed properly visit seatcheck.org or carseatsafetycolorado.com