Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorders


What is heavy vehicle EDR?

EDR is an acronym for event data recorder, more commonly referred to as a “black box.” An event data recorder or “black box” is any electronic module within a vehicle which has the capability to record vehicle data during an event. In accident analysis and investigation, the event is often a crash or some other catastrophic accident.


“Heavy vehicle EDR” or HVEDR is simply an EDR system within a commercial or heavy vehicle (semi-tractor, box truck, straight truck, dump truck, flat bed, etc.). These commercial vehicles contain many computers or electronic control modules (ECMs) that serve specific purposes in the operation of the vehicle. These are the same modules that can potentially serve a secondary purpose as the EDR. The modules include, the diesel engine ECM, the anti-lock brake system ECM, the transmission ECM, the powertrain ECM and more.



How do we access HVEDR data?

We use a heavy vehicle diagnostic tool to access the module data via the vehicle's diagnostic port. Assuming the electrical system is intact, we can communicate with each module using the manufacturer’s software. Because the modules are manufacturer-specific, we hold licenses to many diesel engine diagnostic software programs and both Bendix and WABCO anti-lock brake system software. The full list of compatible vehicles can be found below.


In the event of electrical damage, communication to the modules via the diagnostic port may not be possible. In these instances, we can physically remove the modules from the vehicle and have them imaged, or downloaded, direct to the module. This yields the same data that would have been available through the diagnostic port, however it adds time and expense, so we always attempt a diagnostic port download first.


What data is available?

Unlike passenger vehicles, where many manufacturers have adopted a standard data set, HVEDR data is highly variable depending on the module that recorded the data and its manufacturer. However not standardized, many manufacturers have the capability to record time-stamped pre-crash data showing vehicle speed, accelerator pedal input, brake status, clutch status and more. As with passenger vehicle EDR data, this data provides a wealth of information when reconstructing an accident. With ever evolving advanced safety technologies being implemented in heavy commercial trucks, there is the potential to download event video from the lane keeping assist camera, radar data from the front facing collision avoidance system and more!

Which vehicles can we download?

We have the tools to download the following vehicle makes: Freightliner, Ford Commercial, International, Peterbilt, Paccar, Western Star, Navistar, Caterpillar, Kenworth and Mercedes-Benz. Due to exclusivity deals, we can assist with the downloads of Mack and Volvo trucks, however we do not have access to the proprietary software to perform the download ourselves. Similarly, we can assist with the download of Hino trucks, but cannot perform the download.


We have the software to download the following engines and brake systems: Caterpillar, Cummins, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), Detroit Diesel, Navistar, Max Force, Paccar, Bendix and Wabco. 


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