October 31, 2006
We’re all aware that nearly all cars made in the past ten years or so have a “computer” that helps the dealer prescribe you overpriced parts when flagged and enables Johnny’s Auto Repair around the corner to charge $150 to tap into this chip and run “diagnostics.”
But don’t you ever wonder what other functions our wired autos may be performing?
Thanks, John for this one:
Product: Toyota Scion xB
Lowpoints: The Scion, like most other modern cars, has a primitive “black box” that records data in certain situations — like when the airbags deploy. According to the owner’s manual, Toyota has the right to use the data as it sees fit. This includes product-liability lawsuits. So if you sue Toyota for an accident, your own car can effectively testify against you. And although Toyota sold you the car, it retains control over a key component.
Highpoints: Well, collecting and analyzing crash data should lead to safer cars in the future. The technology I like; but Toyota’s claims seem very invasive.