Found this link today over at Kerodin's.
You know that “check engine” light on your dashboard? What if instead of just telling you that the car’s computer has detected some fault with the emissions control system, it told the government – via roadside readers and satellite uplinks?
All new cars builtsince the mid-1990s have OBD II – or On Board Diagnostics II. This system standardized diagnostics by specifying that every new car come equipped with an OBD port (usually located somewhere near the driver’s side kick panel, on the underside of the dashboard) into which a technician (and your state’s emissions test station) can plug a scanner that downloads stored “trouble codes.” It is these trouble codes that also trigger the yellow “check engine” malfunction indicator light on your dash.
Mostly, these codes involve problems with the emissions control system rather than the engine itself. They’re often intermittent and minor. This is why it’s possible to continue driving the car with the “check engine” light on and everything still seems ok.
And it’s why the Power That Be want OBD III.
In the words of the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (SEMA), the vast umbrella organization representing automotive industry parts and equipment suppliers, OBD III is “A program to minimize the delay between detection of an emissions malfunction by the OBD-II system and repair of the vehicle.”
And how will that be accomplished? Rather than merely store trouble codes, OBDII will immediately transmit those trouble codes to The Man – who will then proceed to first warn you (via letter or e-mail) to have the car repaired, stepping up to more aggressive enforcement if you fail to do so in the form of “citations… court and/or DMV penalty at next registration.”
It would also be possible to send the info directly to any nearby cop, who would then pull you over immediately – saving the government some time while making some more money off motorists.
This is not sci-fi. It’s impending reality. All the technical issues have been solved. Most new cars already come with GPS systems capable of receiving and sending data. It would be a simple matter to salt the roads with scanners capable of ID’ing every car that passes by, automatically establishing a communications link with your car’s computer. This would occur continuously and constantly, too – not just every once-in-a-while. OBD III as envisioned would literally make it possible to constantly monitor and record every vehicle so equipped, from the moment it left the driveway to the moment it returned at night.
Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth – the California Air Resources Board (CARB) which sets the trend for what inevitably becomes national when it comes to emissions rigmarole:
For the rest of the article (and plaese read it), go to Eric Peters' Auto