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  (Source: Paramount Pictures)
Joy riding at the owners's expense may be a thing of the past thanks to Chevy's new "Valet Mode" security feature

UK high performance automotive supplier Cosworth has teamed with General Motors Comp. (GM) to provide a new black-box style technology available as an option on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette.  

I. PDR Sets Chevy's New Stingray a Cut Above

The 2015 Corvette Z06 already has been turning heads with its seventh generation platform design.  In development since 2007, GM didn't rush this one.  Originally slated for a 2011 model year launch, the C7 moseyed out in 2013, with the introduction of the 2014 Corvette.  

The 2015 model year bumps the performance Corvette Z06 model to this new platform and includes further improvements/tweaks to the base model.  For those who don't closely follow Chevy, with the C7 platform it has resurrected the "Stingray" name last used in 1976.  The terms "Stingray" and "Corvette" are now be synonymous, much as they were in the 1970s.

2015 Chevy Corvette
[Image Source: Chevrolet]

The 2014 model year Corvette and Corvette Z06 (C6 platform) had a basic valet mode, which offered security features including:
  • Locking the glovebox
  • Locking the storage bin behind the center stack
  • Disabling the radio and infotainment system
The "Performance Data Recorder" (PDR) takes things a step further.
 
Bundled with the new 2015 Corvette and 2015 Corvette Z06's Navigation Package, the PDR plugs into the controller area network (CAN) bus and interfaces with a special secondary GPS sensor.  Unlike the primary GPS sensor that operates at a relatively leisurely 1 Hz (1 location record per second), the secondary GPS operates at 5 Hz, fast enough to capture corner traces and other split-second travel route information.

2015 Chevy
[Image Source: Chevrolet]

The system is also augmented with video and audio capabilities.  The new Stingrays have a front-facing camera mounted ahead of the mirror, capable of recording HD (1,280 x 720 pixel) video and audio via a cabin microphone.  It also records a variety of driving metrics, including speed, rpm, gear choice, and g-forces.

When the owner is behind the wheel, the PDR acts as a powerful tool that serves both to capture and share favorite driving moments, but also to analyze driving performance and learn how to drive in a more aggressive, but safe manner.  The PDR has four normal modes Track Mode, Sport Mode, Touring Mode, and Performance Mode.

PDR
The PDR is perfect for tuning your racing reflexes. [Image Source: GM]

Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer, describes:

The Performance Data Recorder combines the ability to record and share drive videos with the power of a professional-level motorsports telemetry system.  Drivers can easily record and share their experiences driving down the Tail of the Dragon or lapping Road Atlanta. In addition, with the included software users can analyze their laps in incredible detail, and find opportunities to improve their driving and lap times.

Cosworth's CEO, Hal Reisiger, plugs the powerful add-on, describing:

Drivers want professional-quality information and analysis.  They want to improve their driving performance with state-of-the-art tools, and they want to share that information with their social networks.  Quality data, personalized, from your own dashboard. Driving has joined the social revolution.

The most basic mode is the Touring mode, which just records video and audio, when active.  Sport mode adds in g-force and speed data, appropriate for basic analysis of street driving.  Track mode adds additional data including rpm and lap times.  Cosworth and Chevy have partnered with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) who is providing Bing satellite data overlays for certain tracks.  Performance Mode allows you to practice and record key metrics such as 0 to 60 mph acceleration times, quarter-mile speed and time, and 0-100-0 mph acceleration/deceleration timing.
 
With the system the driver can record 13 hours and 20 minutes of video/audio on a 32 GB SD card in the glove box (or roughly 3 hours and 20 minutes on a 8 GB card).  Drivers can view video on the 8-inch touchscreen that is included with the Navigation package on the 2015 model year Corvettes.
 
II. Peace of Mind -- a High Tech Convenience
 
While the purpose of the PDR is framed primarily in an autosports context, it comes with a powerful added bonus; the PDR can double as an accountability tool to prevent abuse at the hands of valets, teens, or other secondary drivers.



To access the security mode -- Valet Mode -- the driver punches in a four digit pin number which tells the car to monitor the behavior of its stand in driver.  Harlan Charles, Corvette product manager, explains:

Think of it as a baby monitor for your car.  Anyone who has felt apprehension about handing over their keys will appreciate the peace of mind of knowing exactly what happened while their baby was out of sight.

Performance Data Recorder was initially designed as a tool for track days, allowing drivers to record their laps and improve their driving skills,.  We soon realized the system could have many more applications, such as recording a scenic drive up Highway 101, or recording when the Valet Mode is activated.

When in Valet Mode, the recording vehicle resists interference as the SD card is safely stowed in the locked glovebox and the recording can't be disabled without entering a pin to unlock the infotainment system.

PDR valet mode
The Valet Mode is protected by a pin lock code. [Image Source: Chevy]

The system gives worrywarts a way to know if their valet does anything like this or like this:



Pricing has not been announced, but the new feature is not expected to significantly increase the price of the Navigation Package, which was $1,795 USD last model year.  Cost will be important, but as they say, it's hard to put a price on peace of mind.

Sources: Chevy Media, Chevy on YouTube, Cosworth



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Not the first
By FITCamaro on 8/19/2014 5:31:44 PM , Rating: 2
Other cars have done this through a Valet Key that limits the engine to a certain RPM or over a certain speed. The Corvette and certain Cadillacs have had this option before.




RE: Not the first
By Bill S. on 8/20/2014 7:44:19 AM , Rating: 2
And while I'm sure there's a way to "hack" the key system, it's probably harder than doing so to a dashcam/black box system. I wonder how long, before some enterprising individual figures out how?

Also, wouldn't it be quite the slam, if you were some "Gone in 60 seconds" type car thief, and sent an edited version of the video to the ex-owner of the Vette, after stealing their car??


RE: Not the first
By Mitch101 on 8/20/2014 8:43:07 AM , Rating: 2
How long until this is in every car and police/Insurance companies are allowed to access it and give you tickets/rate increases based upon your driving habits? One the flip side it might make for better drivers on the road knowing they might get reviewed.


RE: Not the first
By therealnickdanger on 8/20/2014 10:23:36 AM , Rating: 2
There are already several pilot projects and incentives offered by insurance companies that use this black box method for giving lower rates (assuming you drive responsibly).

But how long before the feds require it? 2021.

If you think about it, it makes sense for both the insurance industry and the majority of drivers. Think about the incredible amount of data that is collected about cars, roads, crashes, citations, behavior, etc. Now imagine combining it all into a method that accurately associates premiums with how you drive. Statistical outliers that drive in an unsafe manner will pay higher premiums than those that don't.

Bring on the autonomous vehicles. Get the lowest possible insurance rate.


RE: Not the first
By theapparition on 8/20/2014 12:05:46 PM , Rating: 2
I and many other Corvette owners have really been looking forward to this PDR on the 2015 models. Despite the article's take on this, it's more about track data recording rather than super valet mode. As you said, there are other options to limit what valets can do with your car.

This integrated will be much nicer than trying to reconcile accelerometer/performance data along with a mounted go-pro. This is a huge improvement.

However, it's a love/hate relationship.

I can't tell you how many events have already been ruined by idiots filming themselves and then posting on YouTube. One event (that was sanctioned by the police) shut down highways and let us run out with the road to ourselves. It was always understood to not do anything stupid like changing lanes, etc. Lots of fun.

At least was. But thanks to the jerks who think everything they do needs to be filmed and put on the web, the great times are over. When you post a vid of yourself doing 190mph on the highway, the police tend to clamp up the next time.

Sounds dangerous, but people don't understand that a real sports car (with real driver) can go those speeds with minor risk. That's the difference. 180mph is just breaking a sweat in a Corvette. Sure, the Mustang GT500 or Camaro ZL1 can go those speeds, but it's not anywhere near the same. Can't say same ballpark, it's not even the same zip code. Night and day difference.

I have a deposit down on a 2015 Z06. But a bit down on the list at my local dealer, there's quite a backlog on the new Z06. Still keeping my C6 ZR1, modded C6 Z06 (800hp) and modded track C5 (1100hp). I daily drive the ZR1 and Z06, but will track the Z06 more and use the ZR1 and new C7 Z06 as DDs. And when I want to slum it, will pull out the F430. ;) Finally took the plunge and own some Italian. This year might also be painful as seriously looking at some British beauty as well.


RE: Not the first
By Crucial on 8/20/2014 2:40:35 PM , Rating: 5
Sorry to hear about your micro penis.


RE: Not the first
By theapparition on 8/21/2014 10:30:56 AM , Rating: 2
Guess you should wait for Obama to give you nice things.

Work for your education, bust your butt and sacrifice, build a successful business and maybe one day anonymous internet losers can think you have a micro penis too. ;)


Nice
By justsomeone on 8/20/2014 11:23:01 AM , Rating: 1
Love the new vette except the taillights. Can't help but see Cadillac in the look... and I hate Cadillac.




RE: Nice
By theapparition on 8/20/2014 12:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
Not many do like the Camaro tail lights.

But they've either grown on me or I've learned to overlook them. I'm getting a Z06, but my other desire I would like to see more body colored trim rather than the black. Some of the black vents break up the look too much.

Can always paint to match if I like what others are doing.


Minor article correction
By theapparition on 8/20/2014 10:54:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The 2014 model year Corvette and Corvette Z06 (C6 platform) had a basic valet mode

There was no model 2014 Z06. And I don't believe the 2013 Z06 has the same valet mode features as the 2014 Stingray.

Perhaps reword it a bit for clarity.




Aggressive/Reckless Driving
By rbuszka on 8/20/2014 10:56:26 AM , Rating: 2
So with the newer 5Hz GPS, not only can the authorities measure your speed on a 0.2-second interval, they can now collect enough information remotely about your speed/direction to charge you with aggressive/reckless driving (cutting corners, rapid lane changes). It's only a matter of when the cops will obtain access and begin making use of this data.




privacy?
By GulWestfale on 8/19/14, Rating: -1
RE: privacy?
By Flunk on 8/19/2014 6:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
The possibility of being filmed exists everywhere all the time satellites, security cameras, phones, dash cams, and a hundred other hidden cameras. At this point you either accept it or lobby to make them illegal.


RE: privacy?
By GulWestfale on 8/19/14, Rating: -1
RE: privacy?
By flyingpants1 on 8/19/2014 9:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
or lobby to make them illegal.


RE: privacy?
By michael67 on 8/19/2014 9:05:41 PM , Rating: 3
I have two dash cam's in my car, one in the front and one in the rear, and in case of a accident i have it all on video.

Never had any use for it my self, but i filmed once a accident, ware one person ignored a red light.

Gave the other person my card, and told him to mail me if he needed the video.

Guise what he needed, as the guy denied he jumped the red light, and here, when there is no prove who jumped he light, often they fall back to the normal traffic rules, and apply those, or make both party's responsible for there own damage.

The guy i gave my card thanked me by giving me a bottle of 18y old Chivas Regal, dash cams can clear up lots of arguments.

They also talking about giving police officers vest camera's that they have to ware when on duty, so that the video as evidence can be used.

To protect the officers privacy, only the police officer him self can watch his recordings, and in case of a dispute, a agreed independent lawyer can review the relevant video, including video GPS tagged video from other officers.

And above all without dash cams we could never have so many funny dash cam video's!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3Aotq-IDCY


RE: privacy?
By jemix on 8/20/2014 12:31:29 PM , Rating: 1
I checked out your link...some crazy shit! The same crash was recorded by 2 different dash-cams. One at 2:40 and the other at 4:40. I'm guessing that that took place in Russia, where I hear there's a dash-cam in almost every car, mainly because of the rampant insurance fraud that exists there.


RE: privacy?
By Murloc on 8/20/2014 6:23:05 AM , Rating: 2
in Switzerland dashcams are illegal because the law does not allow preventive recording "in case someone commits a crime", although some people have them, but it's very rare because car insurance and even personal insurance are compulsory so everyone is insured usually and there's no need.
Except that insurances sometimes have accepted dashcam recordings as proof, and also some insurances lower your price if you insert a blackbox with video recorder in your car, although you probably can't see the video there.

These laws also have negative sides though, google streetview was very late in this country and even today in some states it's not available yet although the big ones have it already.


RE: privacy?
By FITCamaro on 8/20/2014 9:20:45 AM , Rating: 1
You have no expectation or right to privacy on public roads.


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