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Lot's of information over here on the TDIClub Forums: http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=448053

"The Environmental Protection Agency issued the company a notice of violation and accused the company of breaking the law by installing software known as a “defeat device” in 4-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi vehicles from model years 2009-15. The device is programmed to detect when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and to only turn on full emissions control systems during that testing. Those controls are turned off during normal driving situations, when the vehicles pollute far more heavily than reported by the manufacturer, the E.P.A. said."

If you read the articles, VW has already admitted guilt in the software scheme.
Some are wondering if VW will survive this mess they have landed themselves in. It is going to be interesting to watch all play out. Many side to this and certainly large bill and after reviewing their July FS I think their chequebook may hit you in the face if you drop it on the floor.

But they are no strangers to scandal and a good time! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...-past.html
This is no different than a Watergate type situation. Everybody else has been doing the same thing, VW just happened to be in the right place doing the wrong thing. They'll survive and everybody else will get a little wiser.
This is a good read: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2015/09/...-vw2l.html

Seems VW put a lot of effort and expense into their overly complex and unreliable LNT (Lean NOx trap), they were overly committed and when pushed it couldn't deliver so they added the software "fix", probably as an interim measure till they switch the cars over to SCR. (It's one of the more believable theories anyway).

The EPA runs their tests on new engines, then they run a 120,000 durability test, followed by another emissions test. With the "fix" disabled; i.e., software in emissions test mode, there's the possibility the engine may not achieve it's 120,000 mile endurance test which would mean there's no simple recall to make these cars legal.
There is no way that they can not pull all theses cars off the roads in California. In 3 months I will be forced to give up a perfect running N14 computerized Dump truck and replace it for $80,000. 2010 and newer and forced to get a $17,000.00 filter on a 2005 Pete hydroseeder.
This is interesting, it's the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) which prevents outside people from looking at automakers source code or even probing, uploading, and disassembling code retrieved from ECU flash. Long live open source!

How do the aftermarket "performance tuners" work if no one can access the DMCA. Don't they have to interface?
From COBB Tuning for a Subaru WRX STI:

"The great thing about the COBB is that it works with your stock ECU. Subaru spent an incredible amount of time and effort to develop the complex ECU to manage all aspects of your WRX or STI. What the AccessPORT does is simply tweaks the signals to and from the ECU to alter how it manages your engine. A stock ECU is designed to be overly safe, at the expense of extra power. COBB unlocks this, while still maintaining a safe cushion so you can expect more power without more risk."

COBB has a selection of MAPs for the WRX and for other cars to do this. A MAP would be a multidimensional content addressable table and from the above I'd say the MAP would take as an input a vector of actual intercepted sensor data, use that vector to look up content addressable memory (the MAP), and output a new vector with tweaked parameters which is then fed to the stock ECU. The new vector fakes out the ECU to get it do what COBB wants. No need to have the ECU source code.

Also, this software "hook" which allows the insertion of an intercepting MAP would be published by Subaru. The auto manufacturers support the aftermarket world's need to race the cars and to tune them the way they'd like which is great for the Brand! An analogy of this in the PC world would be the BIOS (Basic Input Output System). All PC hardware I/O between the Operating System and the devices (keyboard, mouse, drives, etc) goes thru the BIOS. You can swap out the BIOS to change the behavior. The operating system doesn't know. The BIOS is a layer of indirection. There's a saying in the software community: "All the worlds problems can be solved with a layer of indirection".
If someone had VW reflash the ECU on an affected TDI (which is being required in California in order to renew their registration) with a resultant diminished mpg and/or performance these "performance tuners" may not be a solution. I wonder if any of the aftermarket tuners would even take such a risk. IDK maybe racing vehicles do not have to follow the EPA guidelines since the vehicles are never on public roads. Sure sounds like prices will be dropping on these VW TDI's! Too bad-they are great little cars.
These are the folks who spilled the beans: http://www.npr.org/2015/09/24/443053672/...-big-cheat. What's interesting, to me anyway, is it took an independent test organization, The International Council on Clean Transportation, to find the cheat. The EPA never would have found it given their published and very predictable testing protocol.

You gotta love the comment by Charles Gato: "A guy in WV takes down VW on a test commissioned by a guy named German. Some things were just meant to be".
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