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MEP: Car manufacturers should make their software available for review

Author: Adrian Offerman

Car manufacturers should be obliged to make their motor management software available for review, Paul Tang, a Dutch member of the European Parliament for the Labour Party, requested in questions to the European Commission. Such a measure should prevent the manipulation of the emissions tests, in which Volkswagen was recently caught by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

As long as we don't know the inner workings of these motor management systems, car manufacturers can keep on submitting manipulated test results, Tang argues. Making the software available for review should also unveil similar manipulations by other manufacturers.

Volkswagen emissions violations

Two weeks ago, the German Volkswagen Group was caught manipulating nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions tests. Comparing data from different sources under different circumstances revealed that Volkswagen and Audi diesel engine cars activated their emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing. Other brands affected are Škoda and Seat.

This case is certainly not the first time products have been tweaked to fraudulently pass emission requirements or to deceive customers. Samsung, for example, but other handheld manufacturers too, had their devices automatically raise thermal limits, voltages, frequencies and the number of processor cores put to work when they detected certain benchmarks being run. This way, manufacturers manipulated performance test results by media, consumer organisations and buyers.