Intel researchers are developing a "black box" similar to those used for aviation to record vehicle telemetry and other data.
Having a black box, or event data recorders, in vehicles could help police investigate accidents or help insurance companies determine fault. It could also be connected to the vehicle diagnostics and control center to help determine if the car a working improperly or if driver error is responsible a vehicle malfunction (think: Prius and unintended acceleration).
Don't blame Intel for putting the backseat driver under the hood, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration is requiring automakers to equip all new vehicles with ERDs that record data before, during, and after a crash by 2013.
And it's not all Orwellian oversight--it's all part of the connected vehicle of the future. The vehicle's black box will also be able to send distress signals using a WiMax data connection if it detects impact, and other onboard cameras and sensors will be used in accident avoidance technology, similar to what Audi is researching. The box's WiMax connectivity opens the door to apps that let owners operate and secure vehicles remotely, and it may help to efficiently charge electric vehicles.