Tsoi, A., Hinch, J., Winterhalter, M., and Gabler, H., "Survivability of Event Data Recorder Data in Exposure to High Temperature, Submersion, and Static Crush," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-1449, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-1449.
Event data recorder (EDR) data are currently only required to survive the crash tests specified by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208 and FMVSS 214. Although these crash tests are severe, motor vehicles are also exposed to more severe crashes, fire, and submersion. Little is known about whether current EDR data are capable of surviving these events. The objective of this study was to determine the limits of survivability for EDR data for realistic car crash conditions involving heat, submersion, and static crush.Thirty-one (31) EDRs were assessed in this study: 4 in the pilot tests and 27 in the production tests. The production tests were conducted on model year (MY) 2011-2012 EDRs enclosed in plastic, metal, or a combination of both materials. Each enclosure type was exposed to 9 tests. The high temperature tests were divided into 3 oven testing conditions: 100°C, 150°C, and 200°C. In the submersion tests, EDRs were submerged to a depth of 3 meters in either distilled, tap, or salt water, and then placed in an oven to dry at 65°C. The static crush tests were divided into 3 conditions that varied by the location on the EDR that the load was applied: (1) parallel and (2) perpendicular to the mounting flange onto the main enclosure, as well as (3) parallel to the mounting flange on the electrical connector. In each case, a static crush force of 2,500 lbf was applied for 5 minutes. If the data survived, a second round of loading was applied with increasing force until significant yielding occurred. The data were considered to have survived the test if it was successfully downloaded afterward using the direct-to-module imaging method.In all 27 production test EDRs, the data were downloaded successfully. The high temperature limit of the modules was determined to be 200°C, as components began to desolder beyond this temperature. During submersion, the plastic modules required more extensive drying beyond the established protocol. In top- and connector-loading of the enclosures to significant yield, the data were still accessible. Side-loading until significant deformation, however, led to damage of internal components and unsuccessful data download.