IN-VEHICLE INFOTAINTMENT systems allow vehicle users to perform
a number of tasks including making/
receiving phone calls, send/receive text
messages, utilizing navigation, access
social media and internet services while
driving. Bluetooth technology and/or
smartphones can assist drivers to use
the capabilities of infotainment systems
while driving. Infotaintment system
Electronic Control Modules (ECM’s) can
store information including vehicle information, user data and navigation data
which can be useful for forensic investigations and accident reconstruction.
Imagine automobile claims where cell
phone usage while driving is suspected,
or a vehicle theft or a hit and run where
the driver of the subject vehicle states
he/she was not near the accident
location on the date of the accident.
Berla Corporation has developed a tool,
known as iVe, which can assist in investigating claims related to vehicle fraud,
cell phone use while driving, vehicle
theft and other forensic investigations.
The benefits of using iVe include
retrieving and analyzing user information and navigation data stored in a
vehicle’s infotainment system hardware.
iVe currently covers a variety of vehicle
brands manufactured as early as 2008.
Examples of vehicles currently supported by the iVe technology include: Ford
vehicles equipped with Sync modules
and Navigation Radio infotainment systems, GM vehicles furnished with On-Star modules, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
(FCA) outfitted with different generations
of the Uconnect infotaintment system,
Toyotas with Entune systems, BMWs
equipped with Car Information Computer (CIC) systems and Volkswagen with
Radio Navigation Systems (RNS 510).
Using iVe hardware user data such
Infotaintment Systems Information and
as phone call and text message history
can be retrieved and further analyzed
by the iVe software. Also, navigation
data with GPS coordinates, physical
addresses and/or routes with date and
time stamps can be tracked down using
iVe; thus, a vehicle’s location may be
determined at a specific date and time.
Using iVe to acquire and analyze in-
formation from vehicles’ infotaintment
systems can also assist in investigat-
ing suspected vehicle fraud, such as
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or
odometer readings tampering.
What about a vehicle theft claim? Think
of a claimant reporting his/her vehicle
was stolen while in his/her private garage
with all doors securely locked. It is crucial
to establish the legitimacy of this claim.
How can iVe technology assist in investi-
gating such a claim? Information on both
navigation data and vehicle events such
as doors opened/closed, lights on/off
and gearshift position can be acquired
and examined using the iVe tool; thus, an
assessment of the claim can be made
to determine its validity. Let’s illustrate
the benefit of using iVe to investigate the
above claim: navigation data retrieved by
iVe indicated that on the date and time
of the reported theft, the subject vehicle
was stationary in a parking lot, not in a
private garage as claimed. Also, data
analyzed using iVe software indicated
that the driver’s door was opened for a
significant time as opposed to reportedly
securely locked. In this particular case,
the evidence obtained by using the iVe
tool did not support the claimant’s de-
scription of the incident.
Envision a claim involving a trac-
tor-trailer which was reportedly impacted
by an unknown vehicle. The driver of the
tractor-trailer claimed that the unknown
vehicle struck the rear left of his 53 foot
trailer, then fled the scene. The driver
managed to identify the unknown vehi-
cle’s license plate number which further
assisted police to locate the suspect
vehicle. Retrieval and further analysis
of navigation data with date and time
stamps from the suspect vehicle can be
used to determine the vehicle’s location
at the time of the reported collision.
The iVe tool is available to gather a
wide range of vehicle and user data
to assist forensic investigators and
accident reconstructionists investigat-
ing the facts in automobile accidents,
claims and legal disputes.
Claims Investigation BY DR. LINO O. GARCÍA AND DR. DIRK E. SMITH