How Engineers at West Virginia University Caught VW Cheating – IEEE Spectrum

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  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Quite what those technical measures are remains to be seen. The software detected by the EPA reduced the fuel efficiency and performance in order to bring nitrogen oxide emissions down for testing. Once the testing was complete, the engine shifted to better performance, but at a cost of barfing out up to 40 times the permitted levels of nitrogen oxide.

    That’s potentially hundreds of thousands of tonnes of extra air pollution pumped into the atmosphere a year, globally.

    If Volkswagen alters the engine management software to make the cars run cleaner, then fuel economy and the cars’ speed will be affected, and owners aren’t going to be happy about that. The company would be open to class action lawsuits all round, and in the statement said they were preparing to take a major financial hit.

    The case could also have an interesting knock-on effect in the software field. Technically, Volkswagen’s software was covered under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, meaning tinkerers couldn’t have examined and altered the code.

    The EPA has been lobbying with car companies to make sure the DMCA continues to make engine management software off limits to tinkerers. But based on its experience with Volkswagen, the agency may be changing that stance.



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