Intel wants to put a black box inside your car

By Matthew Smith on July 12, 2010, 7:05 PM
Earlier this year, Toyota was hit by an epic disaster in the United States. The automaker's cars were accused of defects that caused vehicles to accelerate uncontrollably. The alleged fault was blamed for numerous accidents, including one where a rental Lexus went out of control and crashed at over 100 miles per hour, killing four passengers inside.

The problem is still unexplained despite investigation by numerous organizations because no one has found a way to consistently reproduce the issue. One proposed solution is the introduction of a black box that, much like the equipment found on an airline, records data about a car's operation. That information could be used after an accident to determine the driver's actions and the vehicle's response.

Intel believes that this technology is inevitable, and is creating a product that could be sold to auto manufacturers. The project, which doesn't seem to have an official name, is a hardware and software solution capable of monitoring telemetry, road conditions and the use of safety equipment such as seat belts and traction control.

The introduction of an electronic watchdog is probably not how most tech enthusiasts dreamed Intel would step into the automotive market, but it is likely that this technology will be available at least as an option if not standard on future automobiles.

User Comments: 33

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matrix86 matrix86 said:

I'm actually for this. It's not a bad idea. It'll be good for accidents in which bother parties either die or cannot talk. It would make it easier for investigators to find out what happened.

Guest said:

Black box in a vehicle, why not and it make perfect sense. Since it has the ability to record everything from how the technical side of the card is performing to how exactly a driver is behaving behind the wheel.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

No more talking your way out of speeding tickets, that's for sure.

matrix86 matrix86 said:


Not really. The only way they could get the data from it is by extracting it from the vehicle and hooking it up to a computer. So need to worry about talking your way out of a speeding's still possible.....not that I would ever recommend doing such a thing :P

Matthew Smith Matthew Smith said:

I am skeptical about this because of the authority it gives to a supposedly objective system that is in fact going to be subject to errors and malfunctions.

Guest said:

I think the reason why they crashed at 100mph is because they had there foot down. Why would you let a car get to 100mph without turning off the engine. Bit like the fool who couldn't control his car by stopping it. Turn it off? fail

Guest said:

I agree with the above post, the only reason why intel wanna put them in ur car is because everyone owns a car and its a huge market to make mass money off.

OneArmedScissor said:


It won't be too much longer and Intel will want to put a T-800 in everyone's home. Intelnet inside...everything.

LookinAround LookinAround, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Actually, the idea and intent of vehicle Event Data Recorders (EDRs) has been around since at least early to mid 2000's

=> It's really a move at the governmental level for safety (Intel just sees it as a new market for them)

=> In addition to considerations for abuse and privacy

2006 Privacy Legislation Related to Event Data Recorders ("Black Boxes" in Vehicles

In 2004, California became the first state to enact legislation (Calif. Vehicle Code 9951) requiring manufacturers to disclose to customers whether event data recorders or "black boxes" are installed in vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issed a rule in August 2006 requiring automakers to tell new car buyers if an event data recorder (EDR) has been installed, beginning with model year 2011 cars.


Guest said:

I can just see them hooking a transponder to the black box eventually. Go past speed limit sign too fast, the black box will send to the sign your car's VIN (vehicle identification number) and your speed. Bingo -- automatic speeding ticket.

Most newer vehicles have black boxes already but that contain a limited number of parameters and only the last 5-10 seconds. If an airbag is deployed or is close to deploying the data will be saved for use by accident investigators (and yes, it was already used in courts to prove someone was speeding).

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This whole issue is a double edged sword. It would be nice to be able to prove that someone was following you down the freeway 2 feet from your rear bumper, if they were dumb enough to pull in directly in front of a tractor trailer and managed to get themselves killed, or if they were texting or talking on a cell phone when they killed your child. Too much information you say...?

I find it very ironic, that sometimes the most vigorous calls for individual freedoms, are from the people with the most to hide.

thatguyandrew92 said:

I want anything in my car tracking what I do.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I want anything in my car tracking what I do.

Anything ?......mother-in-law...bored and hungry children...potential abductor behind the front seats.

Don't know about you, but I view my car as a little sanctuary...the less intrusion the better. However the idea of a little black box is intriguing, although I'd look at substituting a small block of C4 for the be triggered when the device senses a left turn when the right-turn indicator is going (or vice versa) and lane changing without indicating.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I want anything in my car tracking what I do.
I know that's what you posted, but is that really what you meant?

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Will this be another $1500 fee you won't want to pay but have to? No thanks! People won't want things monitoring them especially if it will be used as evidence against them even if there wrong. Id have it removed/not installed.

Guest said:

Absolutely preposterous..!!! Why do they even use it in planes?!

Ultiweap said:

Wow this is explaining that cars is becoming dangerous with the use of technology inside. We though that it was an advantage but no it is an disadvantage in some cases.

dummybait said:

It's just another means of control... I for one, am against it...

Gars Gars said:


another field for hackers to show off

jailbreak for black box any1?

LightHeart said:

The good:

It could be used to help engineers learn how to make safer cars. It could help the insurance/safety industry to have more accurate information on accidents. It may help you prove your case in court. It may help you understand what exactly happened.

The bad:

It will add to the cost of the vehicle. The insurance industry could use it to raise your rates. It may help someone else prove there case in court against you.

The ugly:

The government may use it to pry into your life a little bit more.

kyosuke said:

It's a good idea besides the GPS in a car is already writing down the places we go, how often we go and how far we really drive. So the intel chip would either help people win cases or help many real victims lose cases. Either way will be fun to see what intel comes up with.

Hopefully car makers will not approve of it making Intel pissed off which will lead to Intel designing their own cars (like we really want)

foreverzero89 said:

another reason not to buy a new car.

foreverzero89 said:

LightHeart said:The ugly: The government WILL use it to SPY into your life MUCH more than they already do.

fixed that for you.

Zeromus said:

It's gonna be harder to transport contraband through vehicles through the use of forensic logging. Which is good, a good step towards a better life.

Guest said:

my cars already got this tech built in, and its a 2005 model, you know what, i don't get calls from the police telling me I changed lanes without indicating, for me its peice of mind, I know that in the event of an accident I have proof of how i've been driving, if its my fault then I can't lie if its someone elses fault and they can see that I was driving safely, then so be it, I can't see how this tech can cost much, I mean, most modern cars monitor everything in the car anyway, the only difference is this is constantly writing it, reguarding the vehicle I drive I belive it only collects x amount of data, constantly overwriting the old, maybe the last 100 miles I do'nt know exactly how much it collects but its only to identify what happened before an event happens, I also belive you need to give your permission to the police before they can access the data.

as far as I knew I thought all responsible car makers did this, I can see how wreckless people wouldn't want this in their car, after all it would mean should something happen,the insurance company can avoid paying out, hey, this will actually lower premiums for people who are safe as it could cut out a lot of false claims, but no, theres a chance it may be used to proof you were driving dangerously so its bad.

Guest said:

turning off the engine is a great idea on a motorcycle,but don't cars have automatic steering locks when they are turned off....

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Here's an idea....stuck accelerator cable (bike or car), shift the transmission into neutral -thats the N in the middle of the shift selection for benefit of our manual gearbox challenged American friends- viola! no steering lock, no messing around with keys, no power steer or power brake loss, indicator/hazard lights still work,,,and best of all, you can continue to listen to your preferred radio selection (for car/obscenely overpowered and thirsty SUV/Japanese tourer Harley wannabe) instead of the assorted wailing and anguish from passengers.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Absolutely preposterous..!!! Why do they even use it in planes?!
So they can spend millions of dollars on attempting to find it, (often times unsuccessfully), after a crash.

Guest said:

I think that was a sarcastic post....

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I think that was a sarcastic post....
Wow, aren't you just the brightest bulb in the fixture....!

I think that that was a sarcastic response to a sarcastic post. How about you, or haven't you gotten that far yet....?

Guest said:


We all have a skeleton or two that even our closest friend or fam doesn't know about so hush with your thinking that only those with something to hide are unhappy with this idea. I like the freedom of knowing my car is just a car. I hate the idea of having to buy a new car because of all the junk I don't want in it...integrated gps, satellite radio, rearview cam, and even bumper to bumper airbags (as a very short individual I just know that damn airbag is gonna hurt if/when I have an accident, would rather just not have it)...blah I want none of it because I don't want my car to be more of a computer than my freakin computer. I dread the day when I have to retire my longtime friend of a car for a new blitzed up thing that will cost a fortune to fix if anything ever happens to it.

And yes I work in IT and yes I love my laptop and cell, but I don't want tech that integrated into my daily living.

LookinAround LookinAround, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Right to privacy "purists" have already long lost the battle for "privacy in public" when it's weighed against the interest of the public good (and, frankly, i'm more comforted by that fact then i am afraid)

  • You've already lost your "public" right to privacy
  • You;re filmed in a store and on the public street
  • You're stopped for ID and screened at airports
  • And if you own a cell phone (as most people do) you're already capable of being tracked - be it by GPS or simply by cell towers

There's also a helluva lot to be said for vehicle "accident reconstruction". Think about it the next time you step on your brakes and they fail (or something with your car goes wrong)

And for those who don't want to pay the incremental cost for safety and/or simply want the "bare bones" in their car: I'd be perfectly happy with that, if you promise to

1. Be the only one hurt or killed in your next accident

2. Agree to waive all liability and costs involved with your injuries because you drove a Yugo

SBHack said:

Don't know. Data overload is already so prevelant in engineers' world and they, like so many, are working harder on justifying their job than they are in putting out a defect-free, needed product. The product would be valuable if the cost were not so prohibitive and the standards of the authorities using it were above reproach. The cost I am referring to is not just monetary; the greatest cost is freedom. Personal freedom has been under attack through "small" concessions for the good of the masses. The fact is, it WILL be used, abused, and quickly be replaced with newer, greater, more expensive technology. Ever seen something "UN-invented"? It is the nature of man to justify, based on feelings, and to abuse for the power. Fortunately, they also know we are watching them, as they are watching us.

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