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Transportation Earth

Volkswagen 'Dieselgate' Software Developed At Audi In 1999, Says Report (reuters.com) 100

An anonymous reader cites a report on Reuters: German carmaker Audi created so-called defeat devices which cut emissions in 1999, years before parent company Volkswagen used them to cheat diesel emissions tests, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday. VW, Europe's largest automaker, admitted in September it had manipulated the engines of around 11 million diesel cars, including its VW, Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat brands. Engineers at Audi developed software capable of turning off certain engine functions in 1999, but it was never used by the VW luxury division, the newspaper said in an advance release of an article due to be published on Wednesday, which cited industry and company sources. Six years later, when VW engineers at the firm's Wolfsburg headquarters were unable to bring nitrogen oxide emissions below legal thresholds, they started to install the software developed by Audi, Handelsblatt said.
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Volkswagen 'Dieselgate' Software Developed At Audi In 1999, Says Report

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    German Audi just makes quality software and engineering, just like Tesla and Apple - don't buy Asian Honda!

    • I dunno...I've heard some real horror stories about Audi's lower-end cars (A3, A4). I know a lawyer who lemon-lawed two TTs.

      On the other hand, my low-end Audi runs like a champ with 200,000+ miles.

  • aw, c'mon, man! VW blew it all over.
    • aw, c'mon, man! VW blew it all over.

      But they didn't inhale, in the Clinton sense of the word . . .

      VW executives commented at the beginning of the scandal, that it was "just a couple of rogue programmers."

      Bull-fucking-shit man! In a big German auto company, they have a quality assurance organization, that reports right up to the top.

      If so-called "Rogue Programmers" were doing the dirty work, someone on the executive staff knew what was going on.

      VW's motto used to be "Fahrvergnügen" . . . now it is "Fehlerbehebungsmassnahmen".

  • Test mode (Score:2, Interesting)

    Looks like they made a software to put the engine into test mode to test a low-emissions operating mode, then later said, "Hey, here's a firmware version that runs lower emissions!" Hilarity ensues when nobody asks what "Test Mode" means and someone just decides the API label must mean it's designed for emissions tests.

    Practical impact is still just a bunch of whining. "He chewed gum in class!" and what happened? "He's not allowed to!"

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Exactly. It's all a bunch of whining with no real impact at all. and honestly what they have to do to make them compliant is WORSE for the environment.

      • Exactly. It's all a bunch of whining with no real impact at all. and honestly what they have to do to make them compliant is WORSE for the environment.

        Explain?

        • Because emissions requirements are generally based on percentage of (bad thing being tested for) per litre of exhaust. "Fixing" the problem reduces the fuel economy, so even though the amount of bad emissions per litre of exhaust is lower, the total amount of fuel being burned is so much higher that the amount of bad emissions per amount-of-fuel-burned per kilometer is much higher since there is so much more exhaust total.

          • Re:Test mode (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2016 @06:16PM (#51943877)

            "Fixing" the problem reduces the fuel economy

            I recall how in the eary 70's emmissions standard were going to destroy the automobile with engines getting terrible gas mileage, and no power.

            And yet, here I am with a 4 cylinder Jeep that gets around 30 miles per gallon, and has enough ponies to keep up with traffic better than many old school V8's. And it's clean. Which by the way, is a lot better gas milage and power than a similar engine from before that time. Somehow the deadly predictions didn't come true.

            then again, what are ya gonna do - there are still people pissed off about them removing lead from gasoline.

            • by steveha ( 103154 )

              I recall how in the eary 70's emmissions standard were going to destroy the automobile with engines getting terrible gas mileage, and no power.

              It's true that engines have come a long way since the early 70's. It's also true that back then, most people didn't imagine just how far it would be possible to go.

              However, I think we really are running up against some hard limits here. You can keep ratcheting the laws upward but at some point it really is impossible to comply.

              In my opinion, the best way to clean u

              • Oh so emission standards is obamas fault? i don't recall him passing any. the last fleet economy standard update was likely under Bush. Oh and it's updated by congress not the president.

                • Oh so emission standards is obamas fault? i don't recall him passing any. the last fleet economy standard update was likely under Bush. Oh and it's updated by congress not the president.

                  For some people, yes. You do know about the Tanks Obama movement. I thoght it was just a meme until was in a traffic jam with a guy once who spent the entire time blaming on Obama.

                • by steveha ( 103154 )

                  Oh so emission standards is obamas fault? i don't recall him passing any.

                  The Obama Administration has officially taken credit for making the CAFE standard tougher.

                  The Obama Administration today finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. When combined with previous standards set by this Administration, this move will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently o

              • At the same time, we need to get more serious about punishing drivers of really polluting old cars.

                The problem with that idea is that there are not that many of them, and they don't tend to put in that many miles. You really can't make a substantial dent in pollution that way.

                25% of cars produce 90% of car pollution

                Your citation doesn't support your argument, though. FTFA, "How you drive, hard acceleration, age of the vehicle\e, how the car is maintainedâ"these are things we can influence that can all have an effect on pollution.â" Age of the vehicle is only listed as one factor. Also, their sampling methodology was shit, and this is

            • And yet, here I am with a 4 cylinder Jeep that gets around 30 miles per gallon, and has enough ponies to keep up with traffic better than many old school V8's. And it's clean. Which by the way, is a lot better gas milage and power than a similar engine from before that time. Somehow the deadly predictions didn't come true.

              then again, what are ya gonna do - there are still people pissed off about them removing lead from gasoline.

              Your 4 cylinder Jeep that gets 30 mpg, puts out 156 bhp and 141 lb-ft. The only old school V8s with that little power and torque were the ones choked by early emissions control devices.

              The problem with lead going away was that it was needed for the valves on older engines. Eventually hardened valve seats would eliminate the need but who had to pay for all of those engine rebuilds to install them.

              Oh, what's the EPA fuel economy numbers for a 1985 Honda CRX HF? Almost 60 mpg highway. Twice what your Jeep

              • by modecx ( 130548 )

                CRXs got closer to 50 MPG (US), at least that's about what my friend's particular car did. But what did they weigh? About 1600lbs or so? Add another half a ton of sheet metal and it might scrape the bottom of the current crash standards score chart. And damn it was tiny.

                So, like all things in life, it's about finding a balance. Do I want to get great mileage...or live through a crash?

              • Your 4 cylinder Jeep that gets 30 mpg, puts out 156 bhp and 141 lb-ft. The only old school V8s with that little power and torque were the ones choked by early emissions control devices.

                Way to not get the point. The point is that the concept of lower emmissions=lower gas mileage is not true. And I'm not certain that I ever claimed that my vehicle had more or less power than old V8's. Just that it keeps up with them. There was a time when if you had a four cylinder, you were paying a stiff performance price. Now you just drive them the same way. A drag race? Old V8 wins. Cruising down the interstate all day? No difference.

                >

                The problem with lead going away was that it was needed for the valves on older engines. Eventually hardened valve seats would eliminate the need but who had to pay for all of those engine rebuilds to install them.

                There were a lot more problems created by keeping lead in the gasoli

          • Actually by regulating fuel entering the chamber alone you reduce the amount of unburnt fuel in the chamber (assuming adequate intake). Dynamically reducing the amount of fuel sprayed in the chamber based on a variety of factors such as total available intake, engine temperature, etc. inhibits available output but can dramatically decrease fuel consumption rates. By further dynamically calculating driving conditions and dynamically "curving" throttle response for more drawn out acceleration you can further

    • Re: Test mode (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's fraud. You can whitewash it all you want, but here in reality land, it's called fraud and we prosecute. Wait till be has to pay back the owners.

      • Re: Test mode (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2016 @03:32PM (#51942841) Homepage Journal

        Agreed. Cars were advertised and sold as:

        1. Performance: X
        2. Mileage: Y MPG
        3. Emissions: Meets General US and California specific emissions.

        Right now, we have 1 and 2, but not 3. After the fix, it will have 3, but most likely neither 1 nor 2.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          as a buyer frankly i only care about 1 and 2 being correct
          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            You'll care a great deal when you can't drive the car at all until 3 is met. You'll have the urge to kill when you see that to meet 3 you will have to give up 1 and 2.

        • Agreed. Cars were advertised and sold as:

          *SNIP*

          3. Emissions: Meets General US and California specific emissions.

          Yeah...like more than a handful of US consumers give a rats ass about emissions....

          Most are interested in the actual performance, looks and how well it works over the years.

          • by batkiwi ( 137781 )

            Yeah...like more than a handful of US consumers give a rats ass about emissions....

            Most are interested in the actual performance, looks and how well it works over the years.

            Most are interested in having a legal car. States could, rightfully, refuse to allow registration renewal on these cars.

            • Most are interested in having a legal car. States could, rightfully, refuse to allow registration renewal on these cars.

              Thankfully, I live in a state that doesn't require any emissions tests, etc...I often forget there are states that do.

        • Agreed. Cars were advertised and sold as:

          1. Performance: X 2. Mileage: Y MPG 3. Emissions: Meets General US and California specific emissions.

          Right now, we have 1 and 2, but not 3. After the fix, it will have 3, but most likely neither 1 nor 2.

          That's why God invented JATO.

        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          But they did do all three, especially since #3 is only tested on an EPA-sanctioned dynamometer.

          That said, while I feel that emissions standards should call for real on-the-road testing across the board, this wasn't (and AFAICT, still isn't) the case.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          After the fix, it will have 3, but most likely neither 1 nor 2.

          Only if you let the Volkswagen screw you. They can fix this problem on many vehicles without any loss of performance, they just need to install expensive emissions control equipment. On the others, they just need to buy it back from you so you can buy something better.

          In some countries there is another option. They could get the car to pass emissions test but end up in the highest tax bracket, in areas where tax is determined by emissions. Then they could pay the extra tax for the life of the car. In some p

          • They can fix this problem on many vehicles without any loss of performance, they just need to install expensive emissions control equipment.

            Where do you imagine they're going to fit that equipment? In the boot? Maybe in your lap? If you were actually paying attention to this issue, watching podcasts by industry insiders talking about it and the like, you'd know that the equipment is not just expensive but it also takes up substantial space. There is literally no room in these vehicles for this equipment. If you were familiar with modern automotive designs or with VAG autos in particular you'd know that. They pack equipment in tightly.

            There is o

      • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

        It's fraud.

        VW fanbois grasp at any explanation to excuse the worlds largest car manufacturer for their fraud. The same mentality that enables corporate staff to rummage around until they find some "test" software that "works" with zero curiosity about why is exactly how banks and regulators hand-waved fraud in the mortgage industry as long as the right fairness in lending goals were achieved. But the former are great folks that made a "mistake" and the latter are criminal capitalist pig dogs.

        It's amusing watching

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, 2016 @03:22PM (#51942749)

    They knew exactly what they were doing. For a technical explanation of how the controller was reverse-engineered see the 32c3 conference lecture:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZSU1FPDiao [youtube.com]

    If you're in a hurry you can skip the first 30 minutes, but a good engineer gets the background info.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The first 25 minutes or so are basically just a rehash of what every engineer already knows, but near the end of the introduction the Audi guy talks a bit about the differences between EU and US legal systems and the consequences, and he also gives some interesting figures on deaths caused by and the social and economic cost of VW's cheating system.
      So don't skip 30 minutes, but start at the 25 minute mark.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    By using the -gate suffix, you have ensured that I will not read a word you have to say. You are telling me that this problem is incapable of standing on its own merits, so you must resort to trickery to make it appear to be a bigger problem than it really is.

    Why am I bothering to say this? Because my problem is with the use of -gate, not the underlying issue that you are attempting to misrepresent. I will happily listen to someone else saying the exact same things as you, so long as they refrain from
  • by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Tuesday April 19, 2016 @03:34PM (#51942857)

    Unless you are talking about Gates McFadden of course...

    • Interestingly, her real name is Cheryl; Gates is her middle name. There's some story behind why she dropped the first name for her stage name, but I can't seem to find it now.

      • I had to look up her name on IMDB and after reading her bio there I believe I recall what you are talking about, but then it's quite possible I am completely wrong. Before becoming an actress she was known in the industry for her work with Jim Henson as a Muppeteer. In an effort to distance herself from her work with Jim Henson she'd use her middle name when applying for acting roles. Of course she found success as an actress and her work with the Muppets is just a side note on IMDB.

  • by Macdude ( 23507 )

    Horsepower
    Fuel Efficiency
    Emissions

    Choose two.

    • I get all three: I have a gasoline-powered car. (Gasoline engines usually make more power than diesel ones BTW, just less low-end torque. You never said anything about torque, just HP.)

      Honestly, they should just give up on diesel-powered cars altogether. It's really not that great a fuel for that application because of the NOx emissions, and the high cost of the engines, plus the higher cost of the fuel itself. Gasoline is a better fuel for now, until we can get moved to more hybrids, and then finally a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    " Six years later, when VW engineers at the firm's Wolfsburg headquarters were unable to bring nitrogen oxide emissions below legal thresholds, they started to install the software developed by Audi, Handelsblatt said."

    More like:
    Six years later, when VW engineers at the firm's Wolfsburg headquarters were unable to bring nitrogen oxide emissions below legal thresholds, their managers told them to install the software developed by Audi,

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday April 20, 2016 @01:09AM (#51945137)

    Seriously. Not only does it sound like an idiot wants to sound hip, it also makes no sense whatsoever. Watergate was the name of the hotel. It's not like some gate was involved altogether in the scandal.

    If the whole "-gate" craze taught me one thing then that whenever journalists feel the urge to tack "-gate" to something, it usually means that the scandal is little more than hype and that it can't stand up on its own so it has to be propped up by a reference to some well known actual scandal.

  • Audi's long-standing motto is 'Vorsprung durch Technik', which in a way is right, they used software technology to hide the hardware problems.

    Disclaimer: I have an Audi diesel, but not one of the 'special' ones.

  • First of all it's a bit misleading when we are talking about software here. Technically it is, but actually it's more like a parameter set the actual software is working on. The actual software is the same for many companies and written by Bosch.

    Dubious parameters have been used by other companies before. One example is BMW motorcycles.

    If you want to get some information with some credibility, watch this talk:
    https://media.ccc.de/v/32c3-73... [media.ccc.de]

    Those people have reverse-engineered the software and the paramete

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