EU and UN ECE Develop New Regulations on Event Data Recorders
An Event Data Recorder (EDR) is a system which records and stores critical crash related vehicle parameters and information shortly before, during and immediately after a collision, so that this data can be retrieved from the vehicle after the event and used for accident reconstruction and safety system performance analysis purposes. In the USA, although the fitment of an EDR system is not mandatory, 49 CFR Part 563 specifies technical requirements that EDR systems which are voluntarily fitted to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a maximum laden mass not exceeding 3,855kg (8,500lbs) must comply with. (Note: According to NHTSA data, 99.6% of Model Year 2017 new light vehicles sold in the USA were voluntarily fitted with an EDR system.)
In Europe, the mandatory fitment of an EDR system is one of the new safety features that will be required by EU Regulation 2019/2144 on "the type approval requirements of motor vehicles and their trailers, and systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users", more commonly referred to as General Safety Regulation 2 or GSR 2. From July 6, 2022, the fitment of an EDR system will become mandatory for all new types of M1 and N1 category vehicle (i.e. passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, pick-up trucks and vans) and, from July 7, 2024, the fitment of such systems will become mandatory for all new vehicles falling into those categories. The fitment of an EDR system to M2, M3, N2 and N3 category vehicles (i.e. buses, coaches and heavy trucks) will become mandatory from January 7, 2026 for new types of vehicle and from January 7, 2029 for all new vehicles falling into those categories.
To develop the necessary technical requirements and test procedures for European EDR systems, the European Commission sought assistance from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) via the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29), and a dedicated Informal Working group was set up to undertake this work. This Informal Working Group, the Informal Working Group on Event Data Recorder and Data Storage System for Automated Driving (EDR/DSSAD), was tasked with drafting Regulations on both EDR systems for conventional vehicles and data storage systems for automated/autonomous vehicles. The first meeting of this Informal Working Group took place in July 2019 and their initial focus was on drafting a Regulation on EDR systems covering M1 and N1 category vehicles.
From an early stage, the Informal Working Group recognised that requirements relating to data retrieval, privacy, data protection and security of data would need to be addressed at a National/Regional level, rather than at UN ECE level. Therefore, the UN ECE Regulation was specifically drafted to avoid these topics and only include requirements on the data to be recorded by the EDR, the format in which this data must be stored and the crash survivability of the data.
With regard to the data to be recorded by the EDR system, it was initially proposed to align the requirements with those specified in US 49 CFR Part 563. However, some members of the Informal Working Group, notably the European Commission, were keen to expand the list of data which the EDR system must record to include data such as the status of the lane departure warning system (LDWS), advanced emergency braking system (AEBS), cruise control system, etc. In response to these proposals, vehicle manufacturers pointed out that, whilst EDR systems capable of recording the data specified by US 49 CFR Part 563 were fairly readily available, it would take time to redesign and revalidate these systems to capture the additional data being proposed and that the mandatory implementation dates specified in (EU) 2019/2144 for M1 and N1 category vehicles did not provide sufficient lead time for vehicle manufacturers to undertake these activities. To address these concerns, a two stage approach was adopted whereby, as a first stage, the initial version of the new UN ECE Regulation would only require data equivalent to that required by US 49 CFR Part 563 to be recorded and, as a second stage, an 01 Series of Amendments to the new UN ECE Regulation would introduce an expanded list of data to be recorded, but with suitable Transitional Provisions. These Transitional Provisions specify that compliance with the 01 Series of Amendments, and the expanded list of data to be recorded, wil only become mandatory for new types of vehicle from July 1, 2024.
The final draft versions of both the new UN ECE Regulation and the 01 Series of Amendments to this Regulation were submitted to the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) at its 183rd session in March 2021, where both were formally adopted. The new UN ECE Regulation on Event Data Recorders was formally published on October 21, 2021 as Regulation No. 160, and it is expected that the 01 Series of Amendments to ECE 160 will be formally published in the coming weeks.
Once this new UN ECE Regulation and its 01 Series of Amendments had been agreed and submitted to WP.29, the European Commission set about finalising a Supplementing Regulation for (EU) 2019/2144 to mandate compliance with ECE 160 and to implement the necessary EU specific requirements on data retrieval and data security. On October 12, 2021, a draft version of this new Supplementing Regulation, referred to as Ares (2021) 6199811, was published by the European Union on their "Better Regulation" web site for public comment, and the closing date for the submission of comments is November 9, 2021.
The important point of note regarding this draft Supplementing Regulation is that it requires compliance with the 01 Series of Amendments to ECE 160, even though the implementation dates specified in this draft Supplementing Regulation remain aligned with the implementation dates specified in (EU) 2019/2144, i.e. July 6, 2022 for all new types of M1 and N1 category vehicle and July 7, 2024 for all new vehicles falling into those categories.