Volume 30, Issue 4 (July 2002)
Retrieval and Interpretation of Crash-Related Data from Nonresponsive Electronic Control Units in Land Vehicle Systems
This paper discusses methods and procedures for recovering valuable vehicle crash parameter data from EEPROM/flash memory in damaged devices in the subject crash vehicle. The objective of these methods and procedures is the revival of seemingly dead or inoperative post-crash on-vehicle electronics control units (ECUs) to recover potentially valuable at-crash vehicle parameters from data that may be retrieved from EEPROM within these ECUs. In many instances, such data can strongly assist an accident investigator in his/her analysis of a crash scenario.
The first section consists of methods whereby an investigator can properly clean and restore a previously nonresponsive ECU/PCB/component to functional diagnostic operation by applying successive methodical and tested procedures. If such cleaning procedures fail, the process of component substitution is illustrated.
The second section shows an example of a complex interpretation process for a hypothetical EEPROM data example in an ABS ECU. While hypothetical, this example is very real-world in concept and content, and shows that information important to a crash investigation can be derived from EEPROM data in many types of on-vehicle ECUs.
Lastly, a discussion of Forensic Neutrality with Respect to Electronic Data Interrogations is presented with an example of the special methods required to achieve this with current interrogation tools.