back to article Chinese auto-maker accused of altering data after fatal autonomous car accident

Police are investigating an electrical vehicle company in China following claims that car data was tampered with following a fatal collision. On August 12, 31 year old Lin Wenqin was using the driver assistance feature on his Nio ES8 when he was involved in a fatal car crash. Chinese state-owned media Global Times reported Lin …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder what DJI could make

    Looking at their car video, it makes you wonder what kind of self driving car DJI could make.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Accused of altering data

    Okay, it's a possibility, but I wonder why the relatives are saying that. What proof do they have ? Why do they suspect that data was altered ?

    In any case, the company's explanation seems plausible. A collision is very likely a bad thing for the batteries of an EV, so taking them out ASAP is probably the right thing to do.

    In any case, I'm looking forward to hearing about this investigation.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Accused of altering data

      What proof do they have ? Why do they suspect that data was altered ?

      Expect someone to come up with a blockchain solution for that...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Accused of altering data

      > In any case, the company's explanation seems plausible.

      It does, but it also makes you wonder why a "battery cut off" as they describe it isn't just a big red switch in the boot that the first responder can get access to, damage permitting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Accused of altering data

        I'm sure it must have, it has a 3 minute hotswap battery pack, that would require a cut off switch (second video).

        (Video purports to be real independent review, but his tone suggests fanboi influencer):

        It's seems to have issues with English speakers, the English guy speaking English has trouble with it, but the Chinese guy speaking English it understands! So you need to speak English with a Chinese accent!

      2. stiine Silver badge

        Re: Accused of altering data

        Remember, this is China, where its more economical to send out a dozen engineers to perform a task than it is to install a $1 switch in every vehicle.

      3. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Accused of altering data

        "that the first responder can get access to"

        I was involved in a near crash. Women on the other side of the road fell asleep, crossed the road, smacked into a phone pole. Luckily a metal one, so she survived.

        The first thing the fire bridge did was wrench open the bonnet with big jaw things, then disconnect and remove the battery. This was a petrol car.

        It shouldn't need any remote intervention to "disconnect" a battery, this sort of thing must be easy for the emergency services to do, as nobody is going to want to go near a vehicle if there's a risk of shorting out the battery, and all that follows...

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Accused of altering data

          this sort of thing must be easy for the emergency services to do

          But you definitely don't want to make it easy for someone to disable a vehicle in a parking lot, or you make things easier for rapists, carjackers and other evil doers. There's a reason why the hood needs to be unlocked from the inside of the vehicle when it used to be openable by anyone.

          Even if there was a simple switch inside it would need to be in a standard/known location for emergency personnel to find it. They know where to rip open a typical car because they know where the battery is located in most cars. But not all - my mom's Cadillac has it between the rear seats for some reason. There may be enough Cadillacs around in the US that this is generally known, but if you have some rare car they probably won't have a clue where to look if the battery isn't found where they expect it.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Accused of altering data

            On the other hand, here in the UK, every public service passenger bus as well as coaches, have an Emergency Engine Cut Off switch easily accessible under a flap at the back, well signed to make sure everyone knows it's there. Something you'd think would be a magnet for teens to access and pull whenever they see a bus or coach stopped at traffic lights or bus stops. And yet you never hear of it actually happening.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: Accused of altering data

              That makes sense for a bus, they are rarely left unattended and when they are out of service they are generally kept somewhere secure.

              Sure someone could walk by and do that while on a route, but even if there are no bystanders these days a bus probably has a camera in the back to provide evidence in case of an accident. It could also catch someone messing with it. Anyway, if it is well marked the driver knows it is there so it would be easy to undo. Might put them a couple minutes behind schedule, but no real harm done.

            2. DrewWyatt

              Re: Accused of altering data

              That used to happen regularly where I grew up to the busses on the school routes.

              Never trust a bored teenager with a big red button marked "EMERGENCY"

              1. DS999 Silver badge

                Re: Accused of altering data

                Somehow I'm guessing that happened a lot more often in the morning than the afternoon?

              2. adam 40 Silver badge

                Re: Accused of altering data

                Ahh when I were a whippersnapper I remember blocking the exhaust pipe of someone waiting at the traffic lights, that was a funny one. It was a just-started car so I could do it with my hand, rather than the old potato trick. It took them a few goes to re-start it!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Accused of altering data

        Well, the first problem is your plan puts the switch in the boot, which means a first responder has to open the boot to get access, which, if the battery or insulation is breached might put them at risk of shock.

    3. Commswonk

      Re: Accused of altering data

      In any case, I'm looking forward to hearing about this investigation.

      Which I'm sure will be every bit as transparent as investigations into events at or involving Wuhan...

      Allegedly. :)

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    Self driving cars

    Phones listening to you and scanning your content

    What could go wrong?

    It seems like a perfect opportunity for any regime to connect the two and then steer your car into a tree if your phone finds you reached the threshold of disloyalty.

    1. BBRush
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Conspiracy

      Cynical... I mean, for a start, you'd need a way to remotely disable the airbags, steering and brakes and there is no way we'd ever let those be controlled by something linked to a remote source.

      1. Jon 37

        Re: Conspiracy

        I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or if you really believe that brakes and steering can't be remotely hacked...

        Just in case you believed it, here's a news article from 2016 about that exact attack against a real production 2014 car. Oh, they could control the accelerator too.

        1. mattaw2001

          Re: Conspiracy

          To back you up the UK forced the cancellation of a conversion kit to convert a Kia 2014+ into a self-driving car, all of the steering and acceleration etc were electronically controlled on the same net ,- you just plugged in.

          Brakes required a hardware module, but I'm sure you could crash with throttle and steering alone

          1. TeeCee Gold badge

            Re: Conspiracy

            Actually, if you want to cause a crash, brakes may be the way to go.

            You do know that, courtesy of ABS and ESP, it's now possible to lock individual wheels on electronic command, right?

            1. Pangasinan Philippines

              Re: Conspiracy

              Lewis, did you have the magic on?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somewhere there is a dog saying…

    “This is fine”

    1. David 132 Silver badge
  5. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    This thing

    Has Euro type approval.

    Wave goodbye to any other brands.

  6. Ribfeast

    I could just imagine a directive from higher-ups in China to Nio to remotely disable all their vehicles in a certain country, as a precursor or in the middle of hostilities etc. I'm sure Tesla could do similar if they wanted.

  7. Jim Birch

    Power off and brain off

    Disconnecting power from an damaged electric vehicle isn't as straightforward as flicking a master switch or disconnecting the battery from a conventional car. there's a lot of energy there. You would want to disconnect individual battery sets from the system to really neutralize the system, especially if it is damaged and may sit around for some time.

    Also: self driving cars are better than distracted drivers but they certainly aren't perfect (yet?). That's why the makers legally require that a "driver" should monitor the car. Is that really achieved in the real world? Not reliably. "Drivers" are still distracted or are just lulled into a sense of security by the computer driving better than they can. So we still have accidents. Is it better than having a random selection of drivers and halfwits at the steering wheel? Statistically yes, but not if your computer slams you into something it fails to recognise. It's the old group v individual prisoners dilemma thing again.

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