[ExI] vw games emissions tests

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Mon Sep 28 02:45:37 UTC 2015

On Sun, Sep 27, 2015 at 2:44 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> does reverse-engineering VW’s emissions settings violate intellectual
> property rules?

If it wasn't for the fact that doing so would be for an inherently illegal
purpose - evading the tests - then it'd fall under the interoperability
exemption of the DMCA, I think.  As it is, though...

> If not, can we  as consumers rig our cars to run clean in test and
> optimally at all other times?

Thing is, the tests were to make sure the engines were running optimally -
with "optimally" defined by the government, sure, but with majority public
backing: "emitting as little toxin as possible into the air breathed by
those you drive by".  Also, "wasting as little fuel as possible": most of
the truly noxious stuff that the regs are there to stop emissions of,
represent unburnt or partially burnt fuel, which means you're getting lower
efficiency.  This does not appear to have been optimizing for anything that
benefits the owner & operator of the vehicle.

> Can we use VW’s tricks to tell the car when someone is at the wheel or
> not?

Not in a useful sense.  They more detect for when they are hooked up to an
emissions test - where someone may in fact be behind the wheel, depending
on how the test is run, though of course the car isn't going anywhere.
Other senses of "no one behind the wheel" aren't covered.
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