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Old 09-24-2015, 04:46 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
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).
Do both: Standardized test with exact protocol + a looser one where you measure real driving conditions in normal traffic. If emissions deviate between the two too much, reject.

The EU is switching to real life testing soon. Curious how that will pan out.
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:52 PM   #102
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Please! this is nothing new...like many 'oh my lord' revelations us sheep are fed every now and again to create the shock and awe effect. In the end this is another politically motivated money making tactic, this time it was VW for something many other companies do too. IMHO EPA and most gvmt agency rules do little for the env. take for e.g. CARB that outlawed the normal gas containers because they supposedly let out too many fumes and in return approved god-awful spouts that spill pints or gas before you can pour any out. Or how the comsumers can't buy a catalytic converter in CA- you have to have it installed by the shops only and pay $800+ for a $60 part...all in the name of protecting the people...
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:10 PM   #103
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Please! this is nothing new...like many 'oh my lord' revelations us sheep are fed every now and again to create the shock and awe effect. In the end this is another politically motivated money making tactic, this time it was VW for something many other companies do too. IMHO EPA and most gvmt agency rules do little for the env. take for e.g. CARB that outlawed the normal gas containers because they supposedly let out too many fumes and in return approved god-awful spouts that spill pints or gas before you can pour any out. Or how the comsumers can't buy a catalytic converter in CA- you have to have it installed by the shops only and pay $800+ for a $60 part...all in the name of protecting the people...
This thread is not about bashing government agencies so please keep it on topic. That kind of discussion will get the thread closed. Thanks.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:17 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Midpack
And you know for a fact that he didn't?
I assume you mean that Winterkorn very well may have said,
"Tell me about anything dishonest or improper you see," to
all his executives. "Don't fear for any reason that I will
retribute. Honesty comes first." And yet for various
reasons the middle managers could not overcome their fear
of consequences, and so covered up the secret, consciously
giving their big boss plausible deniability.

Well, this comes down to whether you feel, if a CEO really
said something like that, and had their heart truly in it,
if their employees would believe him (her). I feel the
employees/managers WOULD - IF the CEO really believed it.
But this also requires that the employees and managers also
hold similar principles dear. As I mentioned on another
board, a primary-er reason for a cover up is not that the
employees & managers fear
their CEO; it's that they merely are afraid to look bad*.
When an animal is cornered, fearing for its physical safety,
all other considerations go out the window. People actually
operate that way: the brain, being evolutionary, has a hard
time distinguishing general fear generated by the cortex's
logical deductions (hm, to lose my job & income would be
scary) from physical threats (my stress system is
overloading and my whole body is tense - there must be a
actual tiger about to eat me, not some vague anthropic
system of money and job security that is indeed a problem
if i lose my job, but not something that's going to rip
my leg off).

So, unless people have set up iron guard rails against
being duped into bad behavior, by the lizard stress system,
they are going to act as lizards when the fear comes (i.e.
"Hey Bob, you were supposed to have fixed the emissions
problem by lowering it by 20% like we agreed last December,
and now the deadline is up and you're telling me you havent?")
That image in Bob's brain scares him because he equates that
with the image of him losing his job, as mentioned.
Because he hasn't prepared his mind on how to deal with
such an eventuality - he hasnt sat down and said to himself,
even once in his life, Well if sh!# comes to shove i really
DO want to do the right thing even if it means losing my job
and facing my wife. I really do prioritize my principles
over added difficulties in my life. While most people WOULD
say that to themselves, absolutely, if they ever sat down
and had to write it out as a contract to themselves, most
people never sit down and do so; hence, the default behavior
is to just go with the flow, the reptilian evolutionary flow
of evolutionary programs our brain is born with.

*I talk about job security - financial fear. But maybe
social ostracization fear is the true activator of the fear
circuit. That is, at first for deadline or a slippery slope
pathway considerations (as posts above theorize) the
device gets implemented. Then the next morning they wake
up and have a feeling of wrongness. But to call it out
makes them seem wishy washy, and worse, "Well why did you
pass condonance on it earlier when it first got instituted?"
All this may occur unconsciously and simply manifest as
denial unwillingness to think about the possibility it
would ever come to light. "On the next model.. We'll do
it right.. and no one will ever know about the old cheat"

(Note: the idea that deadlines cause a lot of corruption
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere years ago, but forget
exactly. Also that social ostracization is THE greatest
fear)
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:03 PM   #105
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It's unclear if Winterkorn or other top executive really knew what was going on or not. He's well known for being a technical guy who wants to be involved in all the engineering details and the VW ability to meet diesel emissions tests without the conventional urea injection system was a widely acknowledged feat of engineering that could not be duplicated by competitors. Likely would have been featured in internal product reviews repeatedly.

It's very clear that some people knew. This is not an accidental bug. It was deliberately coded to defeat the tests and propagated from model to model, so multiple engineering teams were in on it at least. Certainly that must have involved some serious decision makers.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:28 PM   #106
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It's unclear if Winterkorn or other top executive really knew what was going on or not. He's well known for being a technical guy who wants to be involved in all the engineering details and the VW ability to meet diesel emissions tests without the conventional urea injection system was a widely acknowledged feat of engineering that could not be duplicated by competitors. Likely would have been featured in internal product reviews repeatedly.

It's very clear that some people knew. This is not an accidental bug. It was deliberately coded to defeat the tests and propagated from model to model, so multiple engineering teams were in on it at least. Certainly that must have involved some serious decision makers.

I agree... and some of those people should go to jail....

How long has he been CEO? Or, how long has he been at the top levels of VW? One of the problems is that as CEO, you are like a captain of a ship... it does not matter if you caused the crash, it is still on you that the crash happened... I just wonder if it was another CEO that agreed to this and they hid it from him when he got to the top....


Also, there should be hundreds of people let go... this is one of those potential 'bet the company' things that someone at some level should have brought to the front... but being a 'team' player is real strong in most people...
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:52 PM   #107
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I agree... and some of those people should go to jail....

How long has he been CEO? Or, how long has he been at the top levels of VW? One of the problems is that as CEO, you are like a captain of a ship... it does not matter if you caused the crash, it is still on you that the crash happened... I just wonder if it was another CEO that agreed to this and they hid it from him when he got to the top....


Also, there should be hundreds of people let go... this is one of those potential 'bet the company' things that someone at some level should have brought to the front... but being a 'team' player is real strong in most people...
I believe he was CEO from 2007 until now and a career VW employee. Tomorrow, there will be more firings from what I read in new releases. Apparently, top engineering staff from Audi and another executive at a minimum.

From a Yshoo news article:

"The carmaker's supervisory board will give initial findings from an internal investigation into who was responsible as well as revealing a successor to chief executive Martin Winterkorn, it reported.

Reuters later reported the research and development bosses of Audi (Other OTC: AUDVF - news) and Porsche and its top manager in the US will be dismissed.

Audi's Ulrich Hackenberg, Porsche's Wolfgang Hatz and US chief executive Michael Horn will be sacked, a source told the news agency.

German weekly Spiegel reported that VW's brand development chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser will also go."
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:55 PM   #108
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8 years as CEO is a long time for an auto manufacturer, at least by US measure. Sad to see someone had to fall on the sword.

I bet this was kept from the top guy, also would bet the top engineering execs knew full well.
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:11 PM   #109
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I am a bit shocked that something like this could go on. That there were no checks and balances.


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Old 09-25-2015, 07:44 AM   #110
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This is certainly devious engineering. I assume an employee blew the whistle, otherwise hard to believe it was discovered by some outside means.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:36 AM   #111
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This is certainly devious engineering. I assume an employee blew the whistle, otherwise hard to believe it was discovered by some outside means.
Stuff is starting to come out... it seems like it has been going on for awhile... if an employee blew the whistle, I think things would have happened faster....


https://finance.yahoo.com/news/stone...213518175.html



Now, I am going to throw out another problem that will come up with this going forward...

If VW made the confession in Aug, but it took a month to disclose to the public, I think they have a securities violation.... you are supposed to disclose material events and I cannot think of a more material problem for VW than this...

So, anybody who bought shares after they fessed up and lost money will be in a class.... wonder if they sold bonds during that time....
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:47 AM   #112
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So much good information is being shared here, I was hesitant to add anything and just be repetitive, but then I realized I have 1st hand experience with something very closely analogous to this, and some very direct (though brief) 1st hand experience with emission certification as well. But first:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakewood90712 View Post
8 years as CEO ... I bet this was kept from the top guy, also would bet the top engineering execs knew full well.
I also would not be surprised if the CEO was kept in the dark. OTOH, he may have also given a wink and a nod, and just "make sure we pass that test", in such a way that the next level understood exactly what he meant. These people are (usually) too smart to put that in an email.

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This is certainly devious engineering. I assume an employee blew the whistle, otherwise hard to believe it was discovered by some outside means.
No, an outside company/University brought it to light - check the earlier links.

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I am a bit shocked that something like this could go on. That there were no checks and balances.
OK, earlier Midpack noted how the regulatory agencies (govt and private - like UL - this is not a political comment) have to rely on the data the company provides, though this is sometimes/often run through a 3rd party, if applicable. The agencies just don't have the resources to do all this testing themselves.

So that sure sounds like the fox guarding the hen-house. Checks and balances? Well, the products I worked on were subject to a very similar sort of govt health and safety regulation. I can say from 1st hand experience, our MegaCorp took this very seriously. I worked with the dept that did this test, and the other engineers that interfaced with them. There was a bit of a "Chinese Wall" between us and the actual testers, they didn't want some error or wrong thought process going across the two, that was a sort of check and balance. And we had to pass the test with some margin. It was a very difficult test to perform, took very specialized equipment, and was subject to variation depending on exactly how the test was performed. We didn't want to 'fail' due to a little test variation. I don't know, but we might have then sent it out to a 3rd party for independent testing, to submit those results to the agency, but we tested in house to have the confidence that the design would pass a 3rd party test.

During a critical point where we thought we might have had a few days of production of some of a product that might be slightly out of spec due to a slip up in our production process, they called in the guy that ran the test on that product from vacation, because the QC VP didn't want to take any risk that someone else might repeat the test in some slightly different fashion (though it was all carefully documented). They were serious about this stuff.

I could not imagine our MegaCorp cheating on this test. Not because of ethics - we used to say some of these guys would run over their grandmothers to get a shipment out the door and get it on the books for the quarter. But failing this test would bring similar negative press as VW (maybe worse). Checks and balances? Our competitors performed this test as well. We tested their products, they tested ours, that was a given (to learn from them as much/more than 'checking up' on them). If we were out of spec, they would have managed to get word to the media. I'm sure we would have done the same.

I'm a little surprised that VW competitors didn't see this. True, if they ran the strict EPA test profile, they'd get the same results. But they would be smart enough to do some other 'real world' tests. Some think that the other companies are guilty as well, but so far I don;t think these tests have shown problems with other vehicles.

My other 1st hand experience - I actually viewed an EPA emissions test run in the 80's. I knew an automotive engineer that worked on pollution controls, and went into work with him for a day. This wasn't a final certification test, but just an intermediate test, the engineers were just trying to validate the performance of some of the changes they made. The car's on a dyno, a driver has to follow a chart to keep the vehicle speed right within a certain range on this chart. Several cycles of accel, braking, idle, etc. The driver was like a skilled video game player. He knew just how to 'play' the pedals to keep it in range, and not get the equivalent of a TILT alarm, but still drive such to keep things as low as possible.

Since this was a test run, they had scopes and meters and dataloggers hooked up to everything, i addition to the actual tailpipe measurement. It was interesting to see. Yes, a computer/robot could replace that driver for even more consistency.

One more observation - if VW had just cheated by a little, they could have gotten away with it, because any 'real world' test will have variation compared to a dyno test. They got 'greedy' by emitting multiples (5x to 40x?), rather than just 20% more or something. That was just stupid.

-ERD50
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:52 AM   #113
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Do both: Standardized test with exact protocol + a looser one where you measure real driving conditions in normal traffic. If emissions deviate between the two too much, reject.
That might work, but the "normal traffic" confirmation/check tests would still need to be somewhat consistent, else some manufacturers would be getting an advantage. And if we go this route, doesn't the "controlled" dyno test become meaningless? If we're, effectively, conceding that the companies are going to/can write their control codes to recognize when a controlled dynamometer emissions test is being done and then pass it, the car's performance in such a test is not relevant at all.
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:01 AM   #114
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Car crisis widens...
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:07 AM   #115
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:41 AM   #116
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An interesting take on the science(?) of emissions testing in the U.S. and other countries:

"The worst offenders in ICCT’s European (PDF) study were not even VW-branded vehicles. Audi (made by Volkswagen Group), Hyundai, Renault, Opel (made by General Motors), and Volvo vehicles emitted more NOx than the other 27 vehicles in the test combined. Though not proof of active cheating, the huge gap between these automakers’ vehicles and their official test results indicates that the regulators will need to look beyond Volkswagen to solve this problem. Germany’s transport ministry has now said it will do precisely that as it gears up to tackle an embarrassment that gestated under its nose but exploded into the public eye in the U.S."

Link to article: VW Isn’t Even the Worst Polluter: Tests Are Made to Be Fooled - The Daily Beast
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:48 AM   #117
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An interesting take on the science(?) of emissions testing in the U.S. and other countries:

"The worst offenders in ICCT’s European (PDF) study were not even VW-branded vehicles. Audi (made by Volkswagen Group), Hyundai, Renault, Opel (made by General Motors), and Volvo vehicles emitted more NOx than the other 27 vehicles in the test combined. Though not proof of active cheating, the huge gap between these automakers’ vehicles and their official test results indicates that the regulators will need to look beyond Volkswagen to solve this problem. Germany’s transport ministry has now said it will do precisely that as it gears up to tackle an embarrassment that gestated under its nose but exploded into the public eye in the U.S."

Link to article: VW Isn’t Even the Worst Polluter: Tests Are Made to Be Fooled - The Daily Beast
Good read, thanks. Not to defend VW at all, but I've also read several articles in the past week that show this problem stems from the test itself not representing real world circumstances. And of course the fact that the EPA and their European counterparts don't have the funding/staff to do much testing themselves, the rely on automakers and/or third parties. To add to the $ issue, guess what, real world testing is even more expensive than the flawed tests the USA & Euro nations are using. It's never as easy as the armchair QB's want to believe. The regulators don't set out to pick bad tests, they're constrained by $ too. IME they know, but they simply can't do anything about it, so they do the best they can.

From my (non-automotive) industrial experience with EPA (OSHA, UL, ISO, etc.), again that does not surprise me at all.

Most companies want to do the right thing, despite what some here seem quick to conclude about CEO's and corporations. Unfortunately once one company 'cheats' in some significant way, the pressure for others to move in that direction to remain at all competitive can be immense. In some cases, it's not a question of higher profits, not cheating means the business trying to hold the high road will fail once other companies take the low road. We have seen this situation play out over and over, and no first world nation has an ironclad cost effective solution that I know of (yet).

But don't lose heart, 2 steps forward, 1 step back...cars and industry in general are far cleaner now than they were 40 years ago. Big picture!
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:18 AM   #118
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I curious if there are any owners of the affected cars here.
Will you ( or did you ) get the software fix to improve emissions?
The fix will both reduce the performance of the car, and reduce
the MPG... but hey, the environment!
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:46 AM   #119
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This thread is not about bashing government agencies so please keep it on topic. That kind of discussion will get the thread closed. Thanks.
It's OK to bash VW but not the gvt agencies like EPA and CARB who created the mess? gotcha!
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:55 AM   #120
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I curious if there are any owners of the affected cars here.
Will you ( or did you ) get the software fix to improve emissions?
The fix will both reduce the performance of the car, and reduce
the MPG... but hey, the environment!
I read an article that said VW has tried twice to fix the software and failed...

So nobody who owns on could have had their car fixed....
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