Will “impossible-to-cheat” emissions tests work?
Will the new so-called “impossible-to-cheat” emissions tests work? Or, will automotive manufactures find a way to cheat the new tests (again)?
The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal brought to light the stark realisation that car manufactures are capable of – and happy to – cheat. There was nothing accidental about the “dieselgate” scandal, which was an intentionally-conceived mission to ensure VW Group vehicles passed emissions testing by cheating.
Many are understandably wondering whether the new so-called “impossible-to-cheat” emissions tests will really work.
Old system not fit for purpose
The old system was not fit for purpose. The testing regime that Volkswagen managed to easily cheat involved vehicles going at set speeds, in straight lines, and for set times. This meant that Volkswagen could easily cheat by developing the so-called defeat device software which allowed the onboard computers to detect when the vehicle was being tested by analysing data such as speed and turns, and the time lengths involved.
Where the system identified that the vehicle was NOT being tested, which was easy for the software to do given that normal road-use conditions would mean variable speeds, turns and times, life-saving emissions controls could be simply switched off.
Will the “impossible-to-cheat” emissions tests work?
The so-called “impossible-to-cheat” emissions tests are allowing for emissions to be measured more based on the ‘on the road’ emissions. This kind of system can at least act as a “screener” to identify where any vehicle has such huge discrepancies, which was what tipped off the researchers who stumbled across the Volkswagen Emissions defeat devices in the first place.
It’s probably too early to tell whether the new “impossible-to-cheat” emissions tests will work, but we fear that, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The recent increased punishments for emissions cheating offenders should act as a further deterrent for carmakers not to behave illegally, but we can’t ignore the fact that VW – and allegedly others – were prepared to cheat in the first place.
Can we ever trust them not to behave in a similar way again?
The “impossible-to-cheat” emissions tests must work to save us from NOx
In reality, the new “impossible-to-cheat” emissions tests simply must work to protect us from the danger that NOx poses to human health and to the environment.
NOx is already at illegally high levels in many EU nations. We must do all we can do avoid additional deaths that are caused by dangerous NOx polluting our air.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.