US docs show Daimler may have done a Dieselgate – German press claims

Cars detect when it is on a test routine – reports

American investigators are looking into Mercedes maker Daimler's use of engine management software that is alleged to help its vehicles pass emissions tests, according to reports.

German tabloid Bild am Sonntag splashed yesterday (behind paywall) that US investigators had found "several software functions that helped Daimler cars pass emissions tests".

The report included several references to documents from US investigators, though none of the English-language translations state which agency these investigators or documents are from.

Bild am Sonntag also alleged the documents showed that one Daimler function, known as Bit 15, disabled what appears to be the car's selective catalytic reduction exhaust after-treatment system after 26km (16.2 miles).

Another feature outlined in the documents allegedly detected whether the car was on a stationary test rig based on a comparison of speed and acceleration data.

A Daimler spokesman told Reuters the company was cooperating under a confidentiality agreement with the US Department of Justice: "The authorities know the documents and no complaint has been filed."

Daimler's fellow German car maker, Volkswagen, was rocked to the bottom of its tyres by the so-called Dieselgate scandal, in which it was found to have systematically cheated emissions tests by programming its engine management software to detect when the vehicle was undergoing standardised test processes and alter its behaviour accordingly. At least one VW exec, in America, was jailed over the scandal.

The scandal has superficial similarities with accusations that Apple was fiddling CPU benchmarking scores back in 2003. ®

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