The “Black Box” & Beyond

With the proliferation of sensors and sub-systems in modern-day vehicles, we have access to more data than ever, and consequently, the potential for a clearer understanding of what happened in claims related to a crash, theft, or suspected fraudulent activity. Since the certainty of expert opinions is often dependent on the availability and quality of evidence, having access to black box data, detailed forensic photographs and other relevant physical evidence is critical to the outcome of an investigation.

Beyond the black box, there are other numerous other data sources we can mine from to get answers regarding vehicles and drivers involved in claims. Importantly, we make the data make sense in the context of the incident in question based on research and a multi-disciplinary engineering evaluation of all physical and digital evidence.


We can unlock the critical data stored inside:


EDR “Black Box” Data

Since the 1990’s, our forensic engineers have retrieved and analyzed EDR (also called ACM) “black box” data for crash reconstructions and assessments of liability, injury, and even fraud. With the vast majority of vehicles produced in 2010 and onwards having accessible EDRs, they are becoming a staple of automotive data forensics. As curious engineers, we have also crash-tested their reliability and accuracy in order to utilize the data appropriately in the context of the crash.  Our experts are trained to “image” information contained within a vehicle’s black box and/or telematics or any other available electronic data efficiently. As the risk of spoliation is always present, our experts are highly skilled at employing scientific procedures to ensure data integrity and chain of custody. When accessed by a properly trained data retrieval tech and analyst, and examined within the context of all available evidence, EDRs can provide information such as vehicle speed (5+ seconds pre-crash), seat-belt status, brake input, and steering inputs. To learn more about black boxes, scroll down to see our many free educational resources. For a list of covered vehicles, click here. 

Infotainment System Data

Data stored in infotainment systems (i.e. the system that controls Bluetooth connected devices, GPS, media, etc) can forensically pin-point driver behavior, giving your investigation crucial details about what happened, when, and who was involved. As part of our holistic automotive forensic evidence preservation, our advanced toolkit includes Berla equipment and software, allowing us to complete non-destructive extraction of data, such as: connected device history (contacts, call logs, and SMS logs), geolocation & navigation system data (time-stamped GPS coordinates, routes travelled, and vehicle speed), vehicle systems events log (ie. door status, gear shifts, light status, odometer, voice commands, device connections), and installed application data (ie. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, web browsing).NOTE: The data available does NOT always correspond with the size of the touch screen! Vehicles without touch screens can often still record useful data.

Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs)

Our engineering experts can scan a vehicle’s infomatics, telematics, and/or other ECUs to access diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) related to the vehicle’s powertrain, chassis, body systems, and more in order to see if any of the faults may have been a factor in the incident or in the vehicle’s history. With these cutting-edge computer diagnostic tools, we dig deeper into the electronic brains of the vehicle. Most importantly, we make the data make sense in the context of the incident in question based on an engineering evaluation in the context of an incident.

Vehicle Physical Examinations & Mechanical Assessments

Physical evidence obtained through photographs and mechanical and visual assessments are also vital for a holistic view of the incident. Digital data from black boxes and other electronic modules must always be considered in the context of the physical evidence. Our experts are highly trained in the careful measurement and documentation of physical damage (or lack thereof). Proper measurement of physical damage is critical as it is the foundation of a crash reconstruction and/or biomechanical injury analysis. Where injury claims are involved, our experts can examine and assess seat belts, airbags and other safety equipment usage and function. If mechanical function is under scrutiny, our mechanical engineers will carefully examine and assess the vehicle in question. Our experts can glean valuable information that can be pivotal to your claim! Collecting evidence is one of the most efficient and cost effective methods of finding the truth.

Canada-Wide Evidence Preservation Experts

Our full suite of holistic evidence preservation (EP) services are available in all Canadian provinces and territories, and even internationally, to assist you in making efficient and data-driven decisions when handling your claims and cases. For evidence in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia and Atlantic Canada, our forensic experts have boots on the ground and can preserve your evidence swiftly.

Email info@kodsiengineering.com or call us at 1-800-263-6351
for a custom evidence preservation quote

Why choose Kodsi Forensic Engineering?


EDR “Black Box” Related Resources

The "Black Box" Crash Course

Our brief video covers all the need-to-know essentials about EDR data.

"Black Box" Quick Info Sheet

Download our one page summary on automotive “black boxes”

Vehicle Coverage List

View the current listing of vehicles with EDR “black boxes” that can be imaged

Present and Future Applications of the "Black Box"

Learn about the types of data black boxes can record, as well as a bit about their history and likely future uses.

The Airbag Deployment Decision

Read our blog article where we explore the factors that affect the EDR’s decision of hether or not to deploy an airbag.


Go to our seminar page to request a 1-hour in-depth “black box” seminar, or view our other seminar topics.

Questions or comments?

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