History Of Commercial Vehicle Recorders
The oldest recording device on commercial
vehicles is the tachograph. Used in numerous countries throughout
the world, it has been in existence for decades. In the early
1980’s, solid state based recorders were introduced
in North America. One of the oldest is the Rockwell Tripmaster
product. As electronic engines began to take hold after 1985,
engine manufacturers looked to take advantage of the computer
driving the engine. This developed into recording features
within the engine computer connections to display the data
for the driver. In time, the driver displays of some of these
manufacturers became recording devices.
At the same time that electronic
engines were being introduced, mobile radio, satellite and
cellular telephone based equipment was being introduced into
commercial vehicles. This equipment was originally intended
solely for helping with the routing and tracking of the vehicle
to help with logistics management. However, as the engines
became electronic, providing additional information, and as
the users of trip recorders asked for more features, these
communications systems became full featured trip recorders
with many monitoring capabilities.
More recently, antilock
brake controls have become required on commercial vehicles
of almost all sizes. However, as time progresses and suppliers
look to differentiate their products, it is expected that
additional recording features may become part of these computers.
Vehicle OEM’s have looked to the use of the standardized
data link on commercial vehicles, combined with the necessity
of including engine and brake computers. As a result, most
vehicle OEMs offer dash equipment and instrument clusters
that read information off this data bus. In some cases, this
is recorded and in others it is just displayed to the driver.
As least one vehicle OEM has taken that a step further and
provides a data logging unit that records information much
like the flight recorders of aircraft.
These are called Event
Data Recorders; know as EDR’s or the tagged name Vorad
as one of the manufacturers growing in the industry. They
are now complimenting information as an additional “Black
Box”. These are highly accurate and serve additional
information using radar type snapshots also linked to the
engine information through the data link. This can also track
the same information as well as lane changes, etc. The day
is coming when this style of radar could be used for accident
investigation and legal action as well as radar type snapshots
around you or in front of your vehicle. Imagine if all trucks
had radar of oncoming vehicles and an oncoming automobile
came across the median and made contact with the vehicle directly
in front or behind you. Not being in the accident, you could
be part of the investigation. We believe that this will be
mandated and regulated in our lifetime by the federal government.
These types of recorders
are now available with radar and automobiles have various
EDR’s tracking everything from air bag deployment to
speed and stability control.
The future of rollover
stability for trucks is here today and soon this will also
be a part of ECM, ECU, and EDRs for accident prevention or
"Your assistance in analyzing the data from the Caterpillar ECM helped in settling the case. We learned from your involvement, which assisted in a settlement."
M Peterson, Peterson Law Firm