It surprises me that this sort of thing still surprises me.
On Friday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused Volkswagen Group of purposely installing software on some of its cars to cheat on emissions tests. According to the New York Times, Volkswagen Group will have to recall 500,000 Volkswagens and Audis on which so-called “defeat devices” were installed.
In a nutshell, they put some code into their engine management computers that tried to detect when the car was being emission tested, and if so, wind the motor back, way back, such that it would pass said test. Meanwhile, out on the real roads, the car was smooth, powerful and polluting the air pretty badly.
Now that this story has broken and a few days have passed, VW stock has gone down around 20%. The EPA are saying that if they fine them what the offence is worth, VW are looking at a 18 billion dollar fine.
Not to mention (or calculate) the cost of patching the car computers and the drop in sales from cars….. I have not yet seen an answer as to what happens to a car that, after the firmware patch, no longer passes the smog test in a location that requires it to pass….. Oh, what a mess….. What a very expensive and legal mess.
This was no accident. They had to put code into the computer that detected several conditions and then change the tune of the car as a result. Someone made that choice to check for those conditions, that sort of code does not get written by accident. This is no software glitch.
Someone made the clear cut choice to lie. Car sales were more important than telling the truth about the car’s impact on the environment.
VW is not some fly-by night start up, this is a big big big multinational company that frankly was making money because they made good cars…
Baaaah. I’m yelling at the computer again.