Tag Archives: Robert S. Kinder

Phone Data and Infotainment

Infotainment Expert Witness

Robert S. Kinder Jr., MS, Mechanical Engineer ::::

Even though cell phones are physically small, their data storage capacity is quite large. The infotainment system storage capacity in newer cars is also large and includes data from cell phones if it has been connected via Bluetooth or USB. An infotainment system refers to a vehicle system that provides entertainment and information to the end user. The systems include audio and video interfaces, touchscreens, and other features to enhance the user experience. Most newer vehicles are equipped with an infotainment system that assists users with various tasks such as hands-free calling and a rear-facing camera for reversing.

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Side-by-Side (SSV) & Watercraft Electronic Event Data


Robert S. Kinder, Jr., MS, Mechanical Engineer ::::

Over time the number of electronic devices and features in motorized vehicles has generally increased, some of which can record diagnostic or personal information. Most automobiles manufactured today are equipped with (EDR) capable of storing retrievable data including vehicle speed, braking, and other parameters. More recently, cars are not the only vehicles storing data. Newer Side-by-Side (SSV) off-road vehicles and watercrafts have Engine Control Modules (ECM). These electronic devices are responsible for keeping the engine running smoothly. To complete that task, the devices monitor data from various sensors and systems. When a problem is identified, the ECM can log diagnostic fault codes. In addition to fault codes, some ECMs can record up to 60 seconds of data including vehicle speeds. Using diagnostic tools, ECM data can be retrieved to provide insight as to how fast a watercraft or SSV was traveling during the last approximate one minute of usage or its past and current diagnostic condition.

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New Ruling on Cell Phone Data Privacy… What if Your Car Has Similar Data?

cell phone technology ruling

Robert S. Kinder, Jr., MS, Mechanical Engineer ::::

In the current digital era, privacy is becoming more of a concern especially since the advent of smartphones. Cell phone capabilities are increasing and so is the availability of recoverable data. When a cell phone is used to make calls or send text messages, it must communicate with nearby cell towers. As the data transmits, a trail of breadcrumbs is left behind potentially providing a means of determining location during the time a call or text was initiated. On June 22, 2018 the Supreme Court said that the government generally needs a warrant to obtain cell phone location data. What if your car has the ability to record location and cell phone data?

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Lane Change & Crash: Who, When, Where?


Robert S. Kinder, Jr., MS, Mechanical Engineer ::::

The driver of a Jeep SUV stated they were approaching a four-way intersection when a GMC pickup truck changed lanes and entered their path of travel, requiring the driver to steer right to avoid impacting the GMC. The Jeep then crashed into a guiderail on the right corner of the intersection. Moments prior to the incident, the Jeep and GMC vehicles were on the westbound side of the roadway in different lanes. There were three lanes in the westbound direction including a left turn only, a center, and a right lane.

An investigation revealed that the GMC was stopped for a period in the left turn only lane and then executed a right turn into the Jeep’s path of travel (center lane). As part of the investigation, data was obtained from the Event Data Recorders (EDR) in the vehicles. Using the physical evidence found at the collision site and the EDR data obtained from the vehicles, the collision sequence was reconstructed. The Jeep was operating within the posted speed limit when the event data indicated that the brakes were applied with rightward steering input consistent with the driver’s testimony. Applying the laws of physics to the available data confirmed that with full braking the Jeep did not have sufficient distance to fully stop before impacting the guiderail. The investigation also revealed that the Jeep did not have sufficient time or roadway to avoid a collision with both the GMC and the guiderail. The Jeep collided with a fixed object; however, the insurance carrier declared that the Jeep driver was not at fault. Below is a portion of the Jeep’s event data including some of the parameters recorded by the EDR and utilized to reconstruct the moments just prior to the crash.

Event Data Recorder


Robert S. Kinder, Jr., MS, is a Mechanical Engineer with DJS Associates, can be reached via email at experts@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.

Electronic Data: Driver Habits and Data Utilization

Event Data

Robert S. Kinder Jr., BSME, Mechanical Engineer ::::

During an investigation, electronic data is extracted from vehicles to help determine what occurred in the moments leading up to an incident. Crash data is typically obtained from event data recorders (EDRs) showing speed, braking, and driver input that transpired about five seconds before an impact. There are other electronic data sources capable of providing data over larger time spans than the typical five seconds from EDRs. Infotainment/telematic systems are considered one of those sources. The data extracted from these systems are more historical regarding both the actual date and the time span associated. For example, infotainment systems have proven to store GPS track logs, coordinates, and speeds that are over a year old and span for much longer than five seconds.

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Automotive Infotainment & Telematics: What’s Their Purpose & How do They Differ?


Robert S. Kinder, Jr., BSME, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer ::::

In the automotive industry, vehicle technology continues to advance to satisfy consumer driven functions. Whether the expectation is increased safety, comfort, or options, in-car technology demands are on the rise. One of the measures taken by automakers to mitigate these demands is the implementation of state-of-the-art infotainment or telematics systems. Although there is some overlap between these two systems, such as sharing the same visual display monitor, there are functional differences. The basis of infotainment involves the combination of entertainment and information, which may be obvious given the name “infotainment”. Common infotainment functions include GPS navigation, listening to music, and Bluetooth phone operations. More recently, infotainment systems have gained the ability to store cell phone related data when tethered by USB or Bluetooth. Infotainment systems also allow drivers to link their phones through integration software such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Vehicle telematics merge telecommunication and informatic functions. When comparing telematics and infotainment, the most notable difference is that telematics utilize two-way communication. The communication provides a platform to send and receive data. The exchange of data is necessary for features like vehicle location for navigation, collision reporting for police or insurance providers, and remote vehicle diagnostics. Telematic systems can be built-in (onboard) or aftermarket. Built-in or OEM telematics are commonly subscription based such as OnStar by GM. Companies are beginning to use aftermarket plug-in telematics to track their vehicles and how or where they are driven. The devices are plugged into and powered by the diagnostic port usually located in the driver’s footwell area. Insurance companies offer similar devices to track driver behavior to possibly yield a discount on premiums.

Regardless of the type of system, infotainment or telematic, accessible data is potentially stored in the vehicle or in a cloud. The data is not only obtained for insurance discounts or safety related purposes, but also for incident related situations being investigated at a forensic capacity.

For additional information on Infotainment & Telematics, or to arrange a presentation, contact Robert S. Kinder, Jr., BSME, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer with DJS Associates, at experts@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.

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