After-market car tech firm sold 363,000 emissions-cheating devices, DOJ says

Photo of a purple electronics port.

Enlarge / An OBD-2 port is illuminated during an emissions test. (credit: Getty Images)

On Monday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with an after-market car technology company called Derive Systems. Derive was accused of selling 363,000 devices that could defeat the emissions control systems of any car. The settlement called for Derive to spend around $6 million correcting its sold and unsold software to prevent further emissions tampering, as well as pay a fine of $300,000.

Derive’s products rely on the OBD (On Board Diagnostics) II port that’s found in most cars. Ars wrote about the company last year, noting that it is able to not only read diagnostics through the OBD II port, but to write via OBD II as well. This allows the company to re-map engine performance according to a customer’s needs or wishes. If you own a fleet of delivery vehicles and you need to maximize efficiency (and minimize fuel cost) at the expense of, say, towing power, Derive’s system would allow you to do that.

Unfortunately, it seems the company’s software also allowed customers to re-map their engines in the opposite direction, favoring performance over emissions controls, which is verboten by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Air Act.

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Source: Ars Technica

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