IP protection




Please provide a short description of the state-of-the-art and/or current trends in the field? How does the result fit into it?
Keywords: Security system, Black-box, Vandalism acts, accidents, transport.

In the recent past, several car manufacturers have been installing Electronic Data Recorders (EDRs), popularly known as black boxes, in the vehicles they produce. All of these devices record data at the time of an accident. However, they vary greatly as to precisely what information is recorded, the duration of data collection, and how accessible their findings are. In USA a standardization has been proposed by issuing guidelines requiring all black boxes to record the specific pieces of information in an easily downloadable format.

Many info are available on the web about the use of black boxes (the following is from http://www.autoweek.com/article/20080924/FREE/809189970). EDRs in today’s cars begin recording data as early as five seconds before a crash, and they save information such as vehicle speed, throttle position, engine speed, brake action, whether stability control was on or off, steering input and whether antilock brakes worked. At the time of a crash and immediately after, other data are added, including change in vehicle velocity, seatbelt use, airbag status and how the airbags performed in the accident. Some data also are recorded for as long as five seconds after an initial crash, including secondary impacts and vehicle roll angle. All data recorded by the EDR technically are owned by the vehicle owner or lessee, but every manufacturer has adopted a variation of a policy spelled out in most owner’s manuals that says data will be released only with the permission of the owner or under court order to third parties and law-enforcement officers. Safety agencies also may have access to the data with vehicle owners’ permission.

Very recently the Italian government encouraged the adoption of black boxes to allow the insurance companies to reduce the rates, to persuade the drivers to a better guidance style and indirectly to lower the social cost of accidents.

In conclusion, the debate about black box is nowadays very relevant and fashionable.

Some products are available also for an after market installation.

In Italy the Viasat, a black box with GPS and GPRS, is used for alerting rescuers in case of theft, robbery or accident.

( http://www.viasatonline.it/index.php?module=loadContenuto&Padre=8&nome=21 ).

Many insurances in Italy adhered to the project Check Box ( http://www.checkbox.it ) to perform a field test with the aim of monitoring the benefits of a telematic system as EDRs with the objective of rates reduction.  The company providing that technology is Ototelematics (http://www.octotelematics.it/index.htm)

Looking to what the market already offers, some results can be found.

dvr accident recorder





Some of them are in the range of gadgets but probably are not to be neglected in terms of market competition.




What is the problem/need/knowledge gap that the research result is responding to?  How was it addressed before?
Most of current systems used to detect incident dynamics are based on a position, speed, acceleration of the vehicle acquired both by sensor and inertial sensors like small sized accelerometers or gyroscopes.

The addition of video information in a secure manner certainly allows a more precise reconstruction of facts occurred around the the vehicle in the time interval just before or just after the an incidental event.

The adjective “secure” is related to two main issues: the first is that the video information recorded by the black box has to be compatible with privacy legal aspects; the second is related to the robustness against manipulation or deletion of data stored on the non-volatile memory of the black box. The idea is that data may be decrypted only in case of incident by authorized persons. One of the pros of this approach is the possibility to use the collected information also in a forensic context.



What is the potential for further research?
The project is an application of some previous research works, no further research is envisaged starting from the discussed product. Also on the product side no evolutions are planned at the moment.




What is the proposed method of IPR-protection? (patent, license, trademark etc.)
The patent could be a possibility for a complete “machine” to be considered as a product. At the moment, the product will be based on some commercial off the shelf components like a an embedded processing unit and some algorithms.







What are the steps that need to be taken in order to secure the IPR-protection? What is the cost of IPR-protection?
A first view of patents with the keywords, black-box, EDR shows possible relevant results.

Vehicular black box monitoring system


Video incident capture system http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5408330.html

Event Data Recorder with Lane Departure Warning Function



Considering the final product as an assembly of HW and SW targeted to a task similar to the ones performed by some other patented equipments, it is necessary to consider existing patent relevance case by case.

The patent costs in Italy are around 2500 € (up front) + increasing annual fees from 60€ up to 650€ in the 20 year period. The estimated cost for the PCT application in the main countries is in the range of tens of k€.




What is you overall assessment of the scientific maturity of the research result?
The scientific contributions used in the project are coming from previous works already tested, the effort is mostly on making them integrated and usable in a commercial automotive platform. This is why it can be stated that from the scientific viewpoint the result is mature.







Please put X as appropriate. 1 2 3 4 5
Scientific maturity       X  
Synergies   X      
State-of-the-art/innovation   X      
IPR-potential     X    


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