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Old 09-23-2015, 04:05 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
.... it is not like (IIRC) the Pinto where they decided not to put in a $5 part knowing that there would be a number of deaths but the cost was 'manageable'....
That's the popular narrative, but apparently not really what happened. From our pal Wikipedia:

Quote:
In a 1991 paper, "The Myth of the Ford Pinto Case", for the Rutgers Law Review, Gary Schwartz[5] said the case against the Pinto was not clear-cut.[25][26]
According to his study, the number who died in Pinto rear-impact fires was well below the hundreds cited in contemporary news reports and closer to the 27 recorded by a limited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration database. Given the Pinto's production figures (over 3 million built), this was not substantially worse than typical for the time. Schwartz said that the car was no more fire-prone than other cars of the time, that its fatality rates were lower than comparably sized imported automobiles, and that the supposed "smoking gun" document that plaintiffs said demonstrated Ford's callousness in designing the Pinto was actually a document based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations about the value of a human life — rather than a document containing an assessment of Ford's potential tort liability.
Schwartz's study said:
  • The Pinto Memo wasn't used or consulted internally by Ford, but rather was attached to a letter written to NHTSA about proposed regulation. When plaintiffs tried to use the memo in support of punitive damages, the trial judge ruled it inadmissible for that purpose (p. 1021, Schwartz study).
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Old 09-23-2015, 04:10 PM   #82
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All good and thanks for the analysis. I suspect that NHTSA will step forward with a charge/penalty against VW when they count up the dead bodies.
We'll see what happens. I do feel for you and the other VW diesel owners who will be paying a price of one sort or another.

I doubt NHTSA will be involved in any pursuit of VW over this, their mandate only covers road deaths.
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Old 09-23-2015, 04:20 PM   #83
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We'll see what happens. I do feel for you and the other VW diesel owners who will be paying a price of one sort or another.
Yep, we will, but I may get an extended warranty out of this for the parts that have been failing (but not on my Passat yet). That would be good.

I also happen to have the SCR treatment system that uses DEF. I suspect that I will be using more at a cost of $4/gallon every 6,000 miles vs. $4/gallon every 18,000 miles. I may suffer a hit if I decide to sell or trade the car, but I have no intentions to do that since I love the mileage and performance (however, that may drop a bit if re-tuned). I also bought the car for retirement and expect to have it a long time now that I am not driving 30,000 miles per year anymore.

VW has a bigger deal with the cars that are equipped with the LNT system of emission control and that may not suffice to reduce NOx to acceptable levels. This system is on the vast majority of the affected cars. That may be a buy back situation since retrofitting SCR is a big cost for those cars.
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Old 09-23-2015, 04:35 PM   #84
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Yep, we will, but I may get an extended warranty out of this for the parts that have been failing (but not on my Passat yet). That would be good.
On a related note, in 2011 GM diesel trucks began in using both Diesel Exhaust Fluid (for NOx reduction) and a Diesel Particulate Filter/Regen system (for particulate reduction). Those emission systems have experienced a high rate of failure. As a result, GM extended the warranty on the key components of those systems for 10 years/120,000 miles.

I know this because I am the lucky owner of a 2011 GM diesel truck that has made more trips back to the dealership than all the other vehicles I've owned combined.
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Old 09-23-2015, 04:46 PM   #85
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On a related note, in 2011 GM diesel trucks began in using both Diesel Exhaust Fluid (for NOx reduction) and a Diesel Particulate Filter/Regen system (for particulate reduction). Those emission systems have experienced a high rate of failure. As a result, GM extended the warranty on the key components of those systems for 10 years/120,000 miles.

I know this because I am the lucky owner of a 2011 GM diesel truck that has made more trips back to the dealership than all the other vehicles I've owned combined.
Sorry to hear, but it's stating to sound familiar. I guess the technology is being beta tested on us consumers. I've heard that before .

While all the gasoline guys are smirking now, it's just a matter of time when DPFs and complicated emission control systems will be attached to their cars. Hopefully, the technology will be much improved by then.
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:41 PM   #86
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I guess they'll have to change their snappy VW slogan to farfromtruthen
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:20 PM   #87
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... While all the gasoline guys are smirking now, it's just a matter of time when DPFs and complicated emission control systems will be attached to their cars. Hopefully, the technology will be much improved by then.
I would be driving an EV so that I could outsource all that emission problems to the electricity producer.

Oops. Don't know what I would do for an RV. Can anyone other than Buffett afford an electric RV?
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:19 PM   #88
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I would be driving an EV so that I could outsource all that emission problems to the electricity producer.

Oops. Don't know what I would do for an RV. Can anyone other than Buffett afford an electric RV?

Your current RV may be exempt from emissions reductions, unless you buy a new one. Your EV will be taxed for road use since you won't be buying gasoline. Elon Musk will be President.
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:18 AM   #89
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This is now affecting other car makers too - rumours about BMW:

Abgas-Skandal: Vorwürfe gegen BMW lassen Aktienkurs einbrechen - VW-Abgasskandal - FAZ

Google translated: https://translate.google.com/transla...-text=&act=url
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:07 AM   #90
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I wonder, could the people at the University that discovered VW was faking the test legally short the stock or buy puts? They were not insiders.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:15 AM   #91
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I wonder, could the people at the University that discovered VW was faking the test legally short the stock or buy puts? They were not insiders.
If I read correctly, those same people came to VW a year and a half ago with their results, so they would have had plenty of time to position themselves.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:16 AM   #92
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I wonder, could the people at the University that discovered VW was faking the test legally short the stock or buy puts? They were not insiders.
I believe they could have.

Reason being: anyone could have discovered the information they found, there indeed was no privilege involved.

It becomes murkier if the tests were done on behalf of third parties, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:48 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by cooch96
What most impresses me is that this
scandal has been going on for so long. I would
think international, corporate secrets would be
nearly impossible to keep.
Upon resigning, the C.E.O., Winterkorn, said that he was in
no way aware of the cheating device. This is probably true.
However, if he 10 years ago when he started had said "If
there is ever the slightest bolt not on the up and up, I
want to know. It doesn't matter what will happen to our
stock or profits," the mess would have been avoided. So
the seeds for danger were planted long ago. This is why
things, goals, the overarching purpose of life or career,
must be planned out at the beginning as much as possible.

Also: when something like this happens
you can see a lot of people get very motivated. This
energy could be put to good use if they worked
at some regulatory agency. Checking for violations is a
societal good, and if you work hard enough / are productive,
you will get paid. You will not ever lose your job. Now
true once the glamor wears off a person may find emissions
testing dull. So it's still necessary to pick a career
that has a deep seated interest in your soul*. Nevertheless
the idea that people just don't have anything that they
would be interested in working on, nothing they are capable
of producing that they would feel good about at the end of
the day, is plainly false. (This is not directed at anyone
in the thread. I just notice the existence
of people, usually young, who think "But I'm not
interested in work, any type of work. I only like
relaxing.")

*and that your ultimate horizon of end be far enough that
you have enough progress to make that you won't be done by
the time you're 65, or 80. "Challenge," the struggle for
and perception of advancement, are perhaps even more
a component of satisfaction than the purpose of a chosen
field of work.
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:20 AM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a View Post
Upon resigning, the C.E.O., Winterkorn, said that he was in
no way aware of the cheating device. This is probably true.
However, if he 10 years ago when he started had said "If
there is ever the slightest bolt not on the up and up, I
want to know. It doesn't matter what will happen to our
stock or profits," the mess would have been avoided. So
the seeds for danger were planted long ago. This is why
things, goals, the overarching purpose of life or career,
must be planned out at the beginning as much as possible.
And you know for a fact that he didn't?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a
Also: when something like this happens
you can see a lot of people get very motivated. This
energy could be put to good use if they worked
at some regulatory agency. Checking for violations is a
societal good, and if you work hard enough / are productive,
you will get paid. You will not ever lose your job. Now
true once the glamor wears off a person may find emissions
testing dull. So it's still necessary to pick a career
that has a deep seated interest in your soul*. Nevertheless
the idea that people just don't have anything that they
would be interested in working on, nothing they are capable
of producing that they would feel good about at the end of
the day, is plainly false. (This is not directed at anyone
in the thread. I just notice the existence
of people, usually young, who think "But I'm not
interested in work, any type of work. I only like
relaxing.").
The EPA, OSHA, and most regulatory agencies don't have anywhere near the funding/staff to check/recheck every vehicle (or industry they regulate) - the public is (mostly) willfully naive. I can tell you from personal experience it's pretty easy for the EPA to miss a lot, iIF the manufacturer wants to fool them - fortunately not all manufacturers do. Most of the lower level regulators who do the actual testing/work are not very well paid, so they are typically "motivated" and try to do a good job IME. Many have good BS detectors, but they'll tell you they're so outmatched they're not able to catch but a fraction of violaters. Unfortunately, industry knows that, hence some (NOT all) bad actors...
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:04 PM   #95
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Very interesting comments and some great links. I'm normally on the logical side of things, but form a pure emotional viewpoint, I have to say that a VW (non-diesel) was on my very short list of replacement cars, but this appears to be such a deliberate, calculated, and avoidable breach, that I just can't see myself feeling comfortable and proud owning anything with a VW badge. It just would not feel right. NOTE: If you bought before the scandal, that's different in my view, and this is just my personal viewpoint, I'm not judging anyone else who feels/acts differently.

Now - on the logical side: I'm really waiting to hear the details of how this was pulled off. Like some other posters, I've been involved with products with embedded software, and it just seemed like a LOT of people would have to know about this. But then, I thought of a scenario:

OK, it's common for complex software to have multiple 'debug flags', and often, they are not binary flags, but can be set to a value. So a specific routine to control some specific function, might have a debug flag that could have any value between zero and one. And in testing they could turn the function essentially off (with zero), to full ON (1), or anywhere in between. This even be used to test what value is needed under certain conditions. These flags would be in the final code, with the values set to some nominal 'no effect' value, that would be normal.

So now imagine that one group of programmers is responsible for adding a final piece of code that is used to prevent unauthorized changes to the code. These things are done by getting 'signatures' of all the code blocks that come together, and testing that nothing changed at each start up. It has to be done as the last step, to keep it secure. That code could simply also contain the code to detect test mode, and set new values for the debug flags to make it more aggressive in lowering emissions (and lowering performance as well).

It would still be a conspiracy, but it could be kept fairly tight. The general coders would have no clue. I'm sure the engineering managers understood the results were better than could be expected, you can't fool them. They had to know something was up. Hey, how are we getting this performance and MPG while meeting emissions tests, and our competitor's can't?

No whistle blowers? It will be interesting to see why not. Were they paid well enough? Threatened? Were they all high enough up the ladder to do it to protect their jobs? Would it have come out eventually?

-ERD50
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Old 09-24-2015, 02:58 PM   #96
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.............

No whistle blowers? It will be interesting to see why not. Were they paid well enough? Threatened? Were they all high enough up the ladder to do it to protect their jobs? Would it have come out eventually?

-ERD50
Not sure what the corp. environment is like in Germany , but in the US , I would call this "Being a team player" ya, makes me want to vomit, but IMO it is current reality in both the corporate world and government . Anything to keep your job or be promoted, short of something risking personal criminal charges.

I left megacorp in 2000 , mega was often on the sticky end of the lollipop over time charging and bid rigging , on gov. contracts , 90% of criminal actions turned into large civil fines and consent decrees . Mega usually plead to avoid criminal charges for execs. Only saw two execs being thrown under the bus at my megacorp. Both got federal prison. Their actions were over the top stupid.

In my years in local gov., the ugly , often illegal stuff , continues, business as usual . The "Team Player" thing is worse than in the corp. world , IMO. Mid level bureaucrats doing un-ethical or Illegal thing to advance their careers. Those who don't seek promotion usually follow the rules, and sleep well at night. Those who do seek promotion have a much tougher road if they want to keep squeaky clean.
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Old 09-24-2015, 03:17 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
V
Now - on the logical side: I'm really waiting to hear the details of how this was pulled off. Like some other posters, I've been involved with products with embedded software, and it just seemed like a LOT of people would have to know about this. But then, I thought of a scenario:

OK, it's common for complex software to have multiple 'debug flags', and often, they are not binary flags, but can be set to a value. So a specific routine to control some specific function, might have a debug flag that could have any value between zero and one. And in testing they could turn the function essentially off (with zero), to full ON (1), or anywhere in between. This even be used to test what value is needed under certain conditions. These flags would be in the final code, with the values set to some nominal 'no effect' value, that would be normal.

So now imagine that one group of programmers is responsible for adding a final piece of code that is used to prevent unauthorized changes to the code. These things are done by getting 'signatures' of all the code blocks that come together, and testing that nothing changed at each start up. It has to be done as the last step, to keep it secure. That code could simply also contain the code to detect test mode, and set new values for the debug flags to make it more aggressive in lowering emissions (and lowering performance as well).

-ERD50
I think you are on to it.

The bulk of the programmers probably routinely worked the firmware to handle multiple modes. It would make perfect sense for the engine management guy to be asked to develop the engine performance and emissions management with a broad curve of results from "squeak clean and slow" to "dirty and fast".

After all, the test guys are going to ask for this. So no problem there.

The inputs to this come from various sources: test harnesses, operating feedback, etc.

Now, imagine those blocks are held with security. This isn't unusual. I work in embedded and frequently get inputs from "black boxes." So, if some black box, let's call it "betrugen", has algorithm like this:

if (traction control off and steering inputs stable)
then betrugen flag ON
else betrugen flag OFF

So, betrugen feeds the rest of the system something sanitized. Really, nothing unusual here. It can be kept to a pretty tight group.

Oh, and what about the test group? Somebody is looking at this, right? Well, except for the EPA testing, another small group, the rest of the testers likely are asked to discount data when traction control is off. I don't think that would raise many eyebrows.

So, yeah, I could see this betrugen being accomplished in nearly plain sight.
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Old 09-24-2015, 03:40 PM   #98
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So, if some black box, let's call it "betrugen", has algorithm like this:

if (traction control off and steering inputs stable)
then betrugen flag ON
else betrugen flag OFF

So, betrugen feeds the rest of the system something sanitized. Really, nothing unusual here. It can be kept to a pretty tight group.
So, how does the EPA prevent these tricks in the future? Seems they'd either need to see and be able to analyze all the proprietary embedded code (unlikely and impractical for all kinds of reasons) or come up with their own testing procedures that are indistinguishable from real driving conditions (that's hard, too, if you want all cars to be tested on a level playing field).

Hmm--seems it would be easy for a car to do really well on crash tests if the onboard computers detected a likely test condition (i.e. the vehicle accelerating without the engine running, like the NHTSA tests) and then made the safety belt pretensioners, air bags, head-rest adjusters, etc react at the first instant of deceleration/sign of impact, when in real life they might need much more deceleration to avoid false triggering of the safety gear.
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:06 PM   #99
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Just to throw this out there to see if anybody knows....

How would the company testers know IOW, would they not use the same test that the gvmt uses and get the same good results?


I would think that the only way to see if the exhaust was dirty was during driving... and that is not done normally... is it?


BTW, I do remember where some university in Cal was doing testing on cars driving by... during the interview some really dirty car drove by and they turned around to look since it was so far off the charts... it was a 60s Corvette.... maybe we need to go to that kind of real world testing....
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:44 PM   #100
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Rather novel that they used the steering wheel input to trigger test mode (e.g. no steering input for x period of time with specific mph and accel inputs = test mode engaged). We didn't have any steering inputs when I was managing emission test programs in the 80's, but the lack of steering input for 11 miles would make the test cycle unique compared to real world driving.
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