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Old 10-08-2015, 06:14 PM   #241
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House sub-comity hearings with Mr. Horn of VW video Follow live: VW's U.S. chief pins blame for diesel scandal on a "couple of software engineers" - LA Times not live. move timeline bar back to rewind. Mr Horn starts at about 2 minutes
Although VW is clearly in the wrong here, it is disgusting to watch these blowhard grand-standers sucking up the free publicity.
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:21 PM   #242
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The Volkswagen Whee ..

So two engineers design a solution to pass international testing standards, they of course didn't have any manager, and because they were so trusted their code was never put through any change control or design review.

Two guys in a closet solved the intractable problem of how to burn diesel cleanly with software and still get performance, and not a single person asked for a powerpoint explaining this market advantaged technology that should be patented.

No, we just trusted hans & franz.


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Old 10-08-2015, 10:30 PM   #243
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Those damn rogue engineers !
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Old 10-09-2015, 05:57 AM   #244
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So two engineers design a solution to pass international testing standards, they of course didn't have any manager, and because they were so trusted their code was never put through any change control or design review.

Two guys in a closet solved the intractable problem of how to burn diesel cleanly with software and still get performance, and not a single person asked for a powerpoint explaining this market advantaged technology that should be patented.

No, we just trusted hans & franz.
Funny how that works, especially given all the micro management that seems popular these days.
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:17 AM   #245
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We stopped beating them when they came up with the solution we wanted. You expected us to ask how they did it?
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:42 AM   #246
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So two engineers design a solution to pass international testing standards, they of course didn't have any manager, and because they were so trusted their code was never put through any change control or design review.

Two guys in a closet solved the intractable problem of how to burn diesel cleanly with software and still get performance, and not a single person asked for a powerpoint explaining this market advantaged technology that should be patented.

No, we just trusted hans & franz.
Not defending VW or saying this POV isn't plausible.

But many in the management old guard are still shockingly technically illiterate, most of my generation just get by at best. It's not impossible the manager wouldn't have a clue about the nuts and bolts of what the engineers did unless someone told them, they'd never find it on their own. Nor is it impossible the managers essentially told the engineers 'I don't care how, just give us the results we want/need.' Just another plausible scenario.

I doubt most employees even today, young or old, know enough to question much in the IT realm - they have to 'trust Hans & Franz'
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:26 AM   #247
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We stopped beating them when they came up with the solution we wanted. You expected us to ask how they did it?
This is actually quite plausible.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:16 AM   #248
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Not defending VW or saying this POV isn't plausible.

But many in the management old guard are still shockingly technically illiterate, most of my generation just get by at best. It's not impossible the manager wouldn't have a clue about the nuts and bolts of what the engineers did unless someone told them, they'd never find it on their own. Nor is it impossible the managers essentially told the engineers 'I don't care how, just give us the results we want/need.' Just another plausible scenario.

I doubt most employees even today, young or old, know enough to question much in the IT realm - they have to 'trust Hans & Franz'
Anything is possible, and there is something to what you say. However...

from what I'm reading, VW managed to pass the US emissions test with less hardware than their competitors, and still get good performance. Maybe the very top level would not be asking questions, though I suspect that a corp like VW has a Chief Technology Officer - our megacorp did, and he was definitely a technical guy - and it would be his job to understand the technical reasons that VW could achieve this (and patent it?).

As I described earlier, it could have been a very small group that actually wrote the cheat code and inserted it as part of the last integration step (so no one else saw it). And the cheat code likely just took advantage of existing variables/flags that normally existed in the emission control software modules for other valid uses (testing, debug, evaluation, QC, etc), so no suspicion would be raised at that level.

But I just can't see a scenario where two engineers in the module integration ('packaging') team would be motivated to do this. 'Packaging' is not a glamorous, sought-after position, it's a thankless, nuts-and-bolts sort of job. Those engineers would not be rewarded (internally) for getting the emissions down, no one would even look to them for that (which is why it would be a good place to insert the cheat code).

Far more likely that it was driven by someone with management authority (lower than C-level maybe). Someone who could manage to get some trusted, paid-off 'ringers' onto the packaging team to pull this off. And someone who would really benefit with bonuses/promotion for getting the cars to pass the test.

I'll be shocked if this comes down to a few low-level engineers working independently from management (unless VW does a really good job of hiding the evidence, and throwing some engineers under the bus). Follow the money - they just wouldn't have the incentive, and probably would have been caught if it weren't for some collusion.

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Old 10-09-2015, 09:44 AM   #249
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Originally Posted by dallas27 View Post
So two engineers design a solution to pass international testing standards, they of course didn't have any manager, and because they were so trusted their code was never put through any change control or design review.

Two guys in a closet solved the intractable problem of how to burn diesel cleanly with software and still get performance, and not a single person asked for a powerpoint explaining this market advantaged technology that should be patented.

No, we just trusted hans & franz.


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Exactly!

And the management, so thrilled with this huge competitive edge, bet the company on exploiting this edge to the max!!!

But ERD50 has a good point - follow the money: who would get the promotions/pay back for such an exploit.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:45 AM   #250
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We stopped beating them when they came up with the solution we wanted. You expected us to ask how they did it?
LOL! Agree that it's plausible.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:08 AM   #251
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I'll be shocked if this comes down to a few low-level engineers working independently from management (unless VW does a really good job of hiding the evidence, and throwing some engineers under the bus). Follow the money - they just wouldn't have the incentive, and probably would have been caught if it weren't for some collusion.
I would be surprised if it's a few rogue engineers too. There will be casualties for 'should have known' in any event. All I am saying is IME I would not be at all surprised if some in the responsible chain of command really didn't know what was going on. We all know folks of our generation who are proudly ignorant when it comes to technology.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:48 AM   #252
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The "engineers" in question appear to be the R&D chiefs of Audi and Porsche, who were in charge of the TDI engine development (in close cooperation with ex-CEO Winterkorn who supposedly knows nothing about it). I agree that a game changing technical innovation would not be able to escape any executive scrutiny, nor be accomplished solely by isolated low level engineers, let alone replicated at several VW divisions. At the very least it would be thoroughly examined for patentability. This story still has a lot to go and more revelations are likely.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:04 AM   #253
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The "engineers" in question appear to be the R&D chiefs of Audi and Porsche, who were in charge of the TDI engine development (in close cooperation with ex-CEO Winterkorn who supposedly knows nothing about it). I agree that a game changing technical innovation would not be able to escape any executive scrutiny, nor be accomplished solely by isolated low level engineers, let alone replicated at several VW divisions. At the very least it would be thoroughly examined for patentability. This story still has a lot to go and more revelations are likely.
+ 1 on the 2 R and D chief engineers, but I think they deliberately kept the nasty little details from Winterkorn, to give him deniability.

With the damage to the German economy and reputation this has caused, I suspect some current and former VW employees are going to " The Cooler " for quite a while. Will not do anything to rebuild VW reputation.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:08 PM   #254
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I can also see where at the top they did not know about it.... but only during the design.... from what we read, there were indications that there was a problem over a year ago...



But I am going to throw out a potential thought....

What if the engineers did the cheat thinking that they would be able to get the emissions down in a few years... kinda like someone who has money problems and embezzles thinking that once things turn around they will put that money back...

So, do the cheat... keep making improvements and slowly the problem goes away and maybe nobody notices.... heck, it seems they got away with it for many years... and it also seems that the newer cars do pollute less since they can be fixed easier than the old ones...

But, they did not improve fast enough.... and they did get caught... like most people who embezzle...... remember, Madoff got away with his for decades....
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:10 PM   #255
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But I am going to throw out a potential thought....

What if the engineers did the cheat thinking that they would be able to get the emissions down in a few years... kinda like someone who has money problems and embezzles thinking that once things turn around they will put that money back...

So, do the cheat... keep making improvements and slowly the problem goes away and maybe nobody notices....
In the SWENG trade, this is known as a "Temporary Workaround".

Again, possible. But I wasn't in that room so who knows?
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:43 PM   #256
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Anything is possible, and there is something to what you say. However...

from what I'm reading, VW managed to pass the US emissions test with less hardware than their competitors, and still get good performance. Maybe the very top level would not be asking questions, though I suspect that a corp like VW has a Chief Technology Officer - our megacorp did, and he was definitely a technical guy - and it would be his job to understand the technical reasons that VW could achieve this (and patent it?).

As I described earlier, it could have been a very small group that actually wrote the cheat code and inserted it as part of the last integration step (so no one else saw it). And the cheat code likely just took advantage of existing variables/flags that normally existed in the emission control software modules for other valid uses (testing, debug, evaluation, QC, etc), so no suspicion would be raised at that level.

But I just can't see a scenario where two engineers in the module integration ('packaging') team would be motivated to do this. 'Packaging' is not a glamorous, sought-after position, it's a thankless, nuts-and-bolts sort of job. Those engineers would not be rewarded (internally) for getting the emissions down, no one would even look to them for that (which is why it would be a good place to insert the cheat code).

Far more likely that it was driven by someone with management authority (lower than C-level maybe). Someone who could manage to get some trusted, paid-off 'ringers' onto the packaging team to pull this off. And someone who would really benefit with bonuses/promotion for getting the cars to pass the test.

I'll be shocked if this comes down to a few low-level engineers working independently from management (unless VW does a really good job of hiding the evidence, and throwing some engineers under the bus). Follow the money - they just wouldn't have the incentive, and probably would have been caught if it weren't for some collusion.

-ERD50
I also do not see how it could reasonably be a group of mid level rogue engineers, it had to go to the top or pretty darn close.

It is perfectly normal and correct have engineers design a code configuration that minimizes emissions, as it is normal and expected to have engineers design code configurations for best high altitude performance, hot or cold environments, acceleration, etc. And if engineers are given an assignment to minimize emissions, how would they test it? Of course they would test the engine against known standards, one of these being the standard U.S. EPA emissions testing protocol. Nothing unusual or wrong so far.

So I can indeed imagine a group of engineers studying ways to tune the engine to turn in the best performance on the EPA test, without being involved in any fraud.

I can also imagine you want to detect when it is being tested "for reporting" requirements or some other need. The engineers actually doing the grunt work could have been in the dark as to the actual purpose of their work.

This seems likely to me as the perpetrator would not want all of the engineers knowing and talking about what was going on.

In addition these companies have a "Wall of Patents," literally plaques of patents all over the walls. And indeed one of the things that makes a company valuable is the number and quality of its patents. They employ a team of lawyers and are always after engineers to find anything worth patenting.

A major improvement like this would certainly have managers actively seeking to have everything patented. Lots of questions would have to have been asked.

The idea that the top levels would not know what was going on is just not plausible.
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:48 PM   #257
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Damn rogue engineers are spreading evil everywhere...

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Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi have joined the growing list of manufacturers whose diesel cars are known to emit significantly more pollution on the road than in regulatory tests, according to data obtained by the Guardian.

In more realistic on-road tests, some Honda models emitted six times the regulatory limit of NOx pollution while some unnamed 4x4 models had 20 times the NOx limit coming out of their exhaust pipes.

“The issue is a systemic one” across the industry, said Nick Molden, whose company Emissions Analytics tested the cars. The Guardian revealed last week that diesel cars from Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo and Jeep all pumped out significantly more NOx in more realistic driving conditions.
Four more carmakers join diesel emissions row | Environment | The Guardian
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:28 PM   #258
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Called it

Systemic it is.

This could be the death of diesel worldwide (especially Europe).
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:41 PM   #259
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I have 6, count 'em 6 old diesels. I would be happy if this fiasco turned into a "cash for diesel clunkers" event lol...
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:49 PM   #260
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Called it

Systemic it is.

This could be the death of diesel worldwide (especially Europe).
What VW did has NOT been shown to be systemic (yet). What VW admitted to is still unique to date.

And that test results don't represent real world emissions is also very old news in "especially Europe." Emissions testing may change but it's false to now act like no one knew, VW's cheat aside.

I hope no one will be surprised when it's "discovered" that as tested emissions on conventional gasoline engine cars also understate 'real world emissions.'
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In order to pass EU emissions targets, vehicles are tested in the New European Driving Cycle test (NEDC). This driving cycle benchmark, created in 1997, has been heavily criticized for its failure to conform to any real-world scenario. The test is conducted with all ancillary loads turned off, including air conditioning, heat, lights, defrosters. It’s not clear if headlights are disabled (and this would be significant, since European countries frequently mandate daytime running lights and/or full headlights at all times).

Regardless, the NEDC has been heavily criticized for its reliance on low acceleration, frequent idling, and constant-speed cruising. The original version of the test dates to the 1970s. Results do not include sustained motorway driving, allow the manufacturer to reduce speed by 1.2mph (thereby saving fuel), allow for the removal of both roof rails and passenger door mirrors (changing the aerodynamic profile of the car and saving weight), allows for overinflated tire pressures to reduce rolling resistance, allows companies to self-test with no oversight committee in place to check results, and finally allows car companies to reduce their results by 4% — just because.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a new problem, whatever politicians might find it expedient to say. A report from back in 2006 pointed out that while the NEDC standard had been steadily getting more strict, actual reductions in NOx emissions measured in real-world tests showed virtually no improvement. When this report was written, it showed that the then-new Euro-4 standard was only very slightly better than measured diesel emissions under the Euro-1 standard — which had been enacted a full 13 years earlier.
More manufacturers found to violate diesel emissions standards — but blame the test, not the vehicles | ExtremeTech
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