Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Volkswagen, scandal and the rumour mill

The rumour mill is asking: How would Volkswagen’s vehicles know when the EPA’s emissions testing equipment was connected?
One theory being put forward is that VW's engineers linked the vehicle's engine management system to its steering system. 

In the emissions test, the engine speed moves through a specific cycle, but the steering wheel does not turn. 

In real-life driving applications, the driver would of course be required to navigate corners, T-junctions and the like.  The rumour mill theory suggests VW engineers linked the on/off of the engine control system to the vehicle's steering wheel.  No turning, full emissions control – simple control logic.

As we reported earlier, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s original statement, “VW’s algorithm allows cars in the laboratory or testing station to meet emissions standards, but during normal operation the “defeat” device allows the vehicles to emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx, at up to 40 times the standard.

The software produced by Volkswagen is a “defeat device,” as defined by the Clean Air Act,” declared the EPA.

If the rumour mill theory is right, and our opening supposition really is the case, then this suggests that Volkswagen engineers really put some thought into the matter.

As one industry insider told this newsletter: “This will do so much damage to what is basically sound diesel technology.” 

“This is not so much about dirty diesel engines; more about dirty management,” he said. “One bad apple in the tub can damage the lot.”

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