TNM Engineering, LLC
725 S. Mesa Hills, Bldg 2 Suite 4
El Paso, TX 79912
Office: 915-533-4041
Fax: 915-533-6653
Email: tnm@tnmengineering.com


Airbag Download Authorization Form
 
Automotive Airbag Module, Black Box, PCM Download, Data Extraction & Interpretation
It has now been over a decade since a select few vehicles were able to have the vehicle onboard "black box" downloaded post accident to assist in the accident investigation and accident reconstruction. Many changes have occurred and many more vehicles are now downloadable. The list currently consists of Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Fiat, Isuzu, Lexus, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Scion, Sterling, and Suzuki.
 
GM products were first (1994) to be downloadable. To the right is a sample excerpt from a GM download report. The highlighted area shows the vehicle approach speed as 5 (1-second) snapshots, (36, 37, 37, 37 & 37 mph). Also reported are engine speed, percent throttle and brake switch circuit status. Some newer vehicle download reports may include other items such as; Lateral Acceleration, Yaw Rate, Steering Wheel Angle, Cruise Control On/Off, etc., all depending on the vehicle specific module.
 
Select Ford vehicles are downloadable and date back to 2001 for certain models. Ford vehicles currently include the possible download of the Restraint Control Module (RCM) and/or the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The contents of the download are dependant on the module.
 
Below is an excerpt from a Ford PCM download. The report includes vehicle speed, accelerator pedal (%), engine throttle(%), brake switch on/off, engine RPM, etc. The highlighted areas consist of relative time (seconds), vehicle speed (MPH) and brake switch (ON/OFF).
 
Below is the download of a 2007 Dodge Ram truck. The highlighted area depicts this particular vehicle's speed 2 seconds prior to deployment in 0.1 second increments. Also documented are Engine RPM, Relative throttle (%), Relative pedal (%), Raw Manifold Pressure (Volts) and Brake Switch Status.
 
Additionally, it is not necessary that the vehicle airbag deploy for data to be available for download. It is possible that on a low speed accident, vehicle speed data may be available on the module. Unlike airbag deployment events that are permanently stored on the module, if the airbag does not deploy the data may be overwritten after another non-deployment event or cleared after about 250 ignition cycles, so downloading the module as soon after the incident is advised.
 
We hope you find this information helpful and will keep us in mind should you have any questions or need assistance regarding this or any other accident reconstruction topic.

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