EPA caught VW cheating - how does the car know it's being tested?

Page 8 of 11  


Pick up a history book sometime and see what a "goof" it is. Government has always been a criminal enterprise whose primary activities have been theft, extortion, murder, and slavery.
Volkswagen lied, but they lied to a motley collection of liars, thieves, thugs and other miscreants. (As a practical matter, the total emissions are still very low with no actual effect on air quality vs. the arbitrary EPA "standard." The environmentalist crowd has never really grokked the concept of "diminishing returns" or the fact that causing a vehicle to use more fuel just shifts emissions elswhere to provide the extra fuel.)
Screw the EPA and the horse they rode in on (the federal beast). The best comment I saw on the VW situation was this on a political site:
Translation: Slaves rebel; caught trying to escape from The Plantation. Massa plans to whip their asses.
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Roger Blake (Change "invalid" to "com" for email. Google Groups killfiled.)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 9/23/2015 8:21 PM, Roger Blake wrote:

This reads more like a comedy routine than a serious protest.

Screw the lead, asbestos and dioxin, full speed ahead.

That much is true, Felipe Massa always hopes to beat every driver.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No. The software is a black box both to vehicle owners and the EPA. Not only that, but under the DMCA it would be illegal for vehicle owners OR the EPA to attempt reverse-engineering it from the object load.

Gaming the system is a longstanding tradition among car manufacturers and I am _sure_ that if the source code were made public that all manner of interesting games would be found.

THAT is the best question of all, yes. But that is a question that needs to be asked by stockholders, and I have a suspicion that the next annual meeting at Volkswagen will be interesting.

Arrests will do nothing. What has to happen is that vehicle control code needs to be documented and available to the vehicle owner and to the government inspectors. Yes, I know this makes it easier for technology to be stolen in places where patent and trademark law is unenforced (such as China, where the car industry is growing by leaps and bounds and trying to learn as much as possible from Western and Japanese manufacturers by any means possible). But, it's necessary.
If you want to see something REALLY evil, take a look at John Deere's take on their proprietary control systems. THERE are some people who could use arresting. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 09/22/2015 7:07 AM, Scott Dorsey wrote:

Not just John Deere:
http://www.wired.com/2015/02/new-high-tech-farm-equipment-nightmare-farmers/
https://dmca.digitalrighttorepair.org/
John :-#(#
--
(Please post followups or tech inquiries to the USENET newsgroup)
John's Jukes Ltd. 2343 Main St., Vancouver, BC, Canada V5T 3C9
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 10:07:40 AM UTC-4, Scott Dorsey wrote:

IDK for a fact what EPA would or would not have access to but I would doubt that the EPA would have the source could algorithms, etc. EPAs job is to set standards and enforce them, not get involved in how a particular company's computer and systems meets those standards. Do we really need another whole section of the EPA looking at source code?

As M pointed out, the real damage is likely already done to their loyal hippie customer base segment.

I would think it would not only serve the interests of justice, but it would also help deter some future execs from doing the same thing. If you don't put them in jail, then the stockholders take most of the hit. Without a criminal investigation, you wouldn't even find all the exec that were involved, knew about it, etc.

Ridiculous. Like a vehicle owner needs the source code.

Why? One instance in 40 years of emissions standards and all of a sudden companies are going to have to put out their proprietary software for all competitors to benefit from? What's next, Intel Boeing, Apple and Microsoft should put out all their stuff too?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 22 Sep 2015 10:07:28 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

I don't see the logic of this. The purpose of the code is to produce a specific level of emissions. As the EPA found, and I doubt it was hard, the on the road emissions didn't match what was produced during dynamometer testing. How would anyone realistically look at the code and be able to figure out that it "worked" as far as controlling emissions? You can't, you can only tell if it "works" by measuring what comes out the tailpipe. Sure, a good code reader, if they had the time to look thru god knows how many lines of code, *might* spot a weird program execution loop but that it highly doubtful and certainly not a sure thing. And even if they did, it would not prove that the emissions out the tailpipe FAILED, it would only show that someone put some weird stuff in the code. You would still need to measure actual emissions to see if the car met the emissions requirements.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's true that the proof is in the pudding and actual emissions measurements tell the real story, but you cannot realistically measure emissions under every possible driving circumstance, so at some point the test will need to be simplified, and every test that is simplified will have a loophole.
However, seeing source code allows you to figure out what that loophole is when the measurements don't make sense, and of course it also allows you to determine intent. Booleans with name like EPA_ENFORCEMENT and SMOG_MODE might be a giveaway too... --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 22 Sep 2015 18:20:29 -0400, Scott Dorsey wrote:

I once looked that up, and it's the truth is in the /taste/ of the pudding! :)

You'll notice they drove the three test cars from San Diego to Seattle. Do you know why they did that?
Because the trucking engine manufacturers were caught cheating years ago, where, after hundreds of miles of driving, the emissions would slowly creep up as the cheat codes slowly lowered the emissions constraints.
The only way to tell if the VW cheat code did the same thing as Caterpillar and Volvo did in the past, was to drive for a thousand miles or so. It turned out that the cheat code was not the same as the ones previously used by the trucking engine manufacturers, but, as you noted, the only way to tell was to drive very long distances.

This is true.
The problem here isn't that VW cheated; it's that we TRUSTED them not to cheat, and then they still cheated. It's like trusting a house guest not to steal from you. Or like trusting the pool boy not to steal chemicals from you. Or trusting the electrician not to steal wires from you. Or trusting the dentist not to steal gold fillings from you.
It's a trust issue (in addition to one big legal issue).

In the official documents, even VW called the cheat setting of the switch the dynamometer setting!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 5:22:33 PM UTC-4, Ashton Crusher wrote:

The purpose of the whole emission systems is to keep emissions under the EPA limits. The purpose of this code was to first determine if the car was currently being emissions tested, and if so, then to run the car with the full emissions control protocol to meet the test. Otherwise it ran the car with emissions that according to the news last night was 10 - 40x above the limits.

They didn't look at the code, EPA went after VW to explain the huge differences between dyno testing emissions and emission on the road. VW couldn't explain it and finally admitted what they had done.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 22 Sep 2015 15:40:39 -0700, trader_4 wrote:

Notice that they had from 5 to 45 times the LIMIT (which is a lot!).
The lower/higher numbers were due to city/highway mode, I think. (I assume the city numbers are the higher ones?)
The variation in the low and high figures themselves was due to the different vehicles tested.

I think, as someone mentioned, and as the news noted, the code is actually covered by the DCMA (it would be nice to find a cite).
It wasn't so much that VW /couldn't/ explain, but that they wouldn't explain it. They only admitted guilt when both CARB and EPA said they would not certify 2016 diesels because they couldn't be certain of the manufacturer's own certification process.
Only then, when VW knew their stock price would take the hit, did VW finally confess. And even then, they didn't confess to the fact that it's not half a million vehicles, but more than twenty times that number!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 22 Sep 2015 15:40:39 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

We are talking about two different codes. The code I'm talking about is the "real code" that doesn't have any special switches in it. The code you are talking about is code someone slipped into the "real code" to turn off the emissions controls.
was to first determine if

That is my point exactly. They looked at what came out the tailpipe. Looking at "the code" isn't going to tell them anything, it's not like it's just a 1980 15 line BASIC language do loop to count how many times the wheels go around in a minute where you could look and see they were inserting an extra 10% every 120 seconds with two extra lines of code. It's undoubtedly got thousands and thousands of lines of code, much of it interrelated, much of it doing periodic "turn this off and see if sensor X reacts" to verify sensor X is still working. If sensor X is not working turn the CEL on and depending on the fault code it might make it flash. No one is going to be able to look thru that and find some hidden loop aimed at fooling the system unless the author of the illicit code wanted to be caught and put in "ILLEGAL CODE - NEXT 12 lines!!!" And even if this presumed code looker found something suspicious, so what? If the car passes both the emissions test and ALL on road verifications what do you think EPA should do? Fine them for writing code that's looks funny to EPA but still meets emissions standards?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 9:05:57 PM UTC-4, Ashton Crusher wrote:

AFAIK, there is only one set of code under discussion here, that's the code that is in the actual VW cars that were cheating.

If competent investigators choose to actually do the investigation, to find out what was happening, to look at the code, they could show that the code was written to detect when the car was being tested and to then do a different emissions control algorithm. It's right there, in the code. It would be much easier to decipher if it was documented and labeled "cheat code", but it can still be done.
It's undoubtedly got thousands and thousands of lines

Of course it can be found and determined. It's not trivial, but it certainly can be done without the code being documented.

If the car actually met the EPA standards, then I agree that having the cheat code there might not violate the law. But the fact is that the cars don't meet the limits by 10 to 40x. If you're point is that it's not worth it for the EPA to be routinely demanding source code, analyzing it all, deciphering it, etc, for all cars, I agree with that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 23 Sep 2015 04:29:39 -0700, trader_4 wrote:

Um, someone was comparing the punishment meted out to other auto manufacturers who were punished under a different legal code than the legal code which will be used to punish VW.
That's all I was saying to keep in mind.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 23 Sep 2015 04:29:39 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

That's my point for this thread branch, yes. Not only isn't it worth it, the code is none of teh EPA's damn business.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:

What I don't understand is that the code, apparently, allowed *more* fuel to the engine (to cool the combustion chamber) which lowered NOx emissions.
So, fixing the problem should result in *less* fuel to the engine, if that's the case.
When they reflash the ecu, wouldn't that lowering of fuel *increase* gas mileage *and* bring NOx emissions back down to where they said they were?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 10:55:53 PM UTC-4, Vincent Cheng Hoi Chuen wrote:

You have it backwards and contradict yourself in your own statement. If it's true that more fuel to the engine lowers emissions, then that would be what they would have to do all the time, not just when it's being tested and that would give lower MPG.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Vincent Cheng Hoi Chuen wrote:

Backwards.
Less fuel = hotter burn in the combustion chamber = higher NOx numbers It shows up as vehicles that get better EPA mileage numbers than the sticker says because they are burning less fuel.
To correct the issue they need to increase the fuel to the engine to cool the combustion temperatures.
The end result will be that the EPA MPG numbers will be closer to reality because the engine is now using the fuel to keep the NOx numbers down. The only "bad" side effect will be that the particulate trap and the NOx catalyst will need to burn more often to regenerate.
OR VW could come up with a DEF retrofit to drop the NOx numbers.
--
Steve W.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Remember we are talking DIESEL here. The more fuel, the hotter the burn. Same is true of Gasoline, but only to a point. The point doesn't come in to play with a compression ignition engine

Passat) TDI
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 24 Sep 2015 02:55:49 +0000 (UTC), Vincent Cheng Hoi Chuen

Have you actually seen any factual data that they were providing more fuel? From the little bit of decent info I've seen it looked more like they were trying to extend the life of some "filter" by turning the filter "off" and just letting the stuff fly out the tailpipe.
some info here.. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/09/22/business/international/vw-volkswagen-emissions-explainer.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 22 Sep 2015 14:22:22 -0700, Ashton Crusher wrote:

I think this makes sense.
The VW cheat code does NOT appear to do anything clever.
In the official EPA pdf letter to VW, they called it a "switch".
Basically, the cheat code determined that the car was not moving but that it was running as if it was moving, so, under that circumstance (i.e., under what the EPA called the "dynamometer" settings) VW engineers simply reduced the fuel to the engine, which lowered the NOx emissions.
Under all other circumstances, which the EPA called the "road" settings, VW engineers let the car have as much fuel as it wanted, NOx emissions be damned.
There was nothing sophisticated at all about it. It's like me stealing money from my own relatives. It's easy to do because they leave their wallet out on the kitchen table without checking.
The audacious part isn't how clever it was (it wasn't at all clever).
The audacious part is that we trusted them, just as you trust a house guest, and they violated that trust, just as it would be as if a house guest stole money out of your wallet.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.