Enlarge / Volkswagen AG Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) vehicles sit parked in a storage lot at San Bernardino International Airport (SBD) in San Bernardino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.
Volkswagen agreed last year to buy back about 500,000 diesels that it rigged to pass US emissions tests if it can’t figure out a way to fix them.
In the meantime, the company is hauling them to storage lots, such as ones at an abandoned NFL stadium outside Detroit, the Port of Baltimore and a decommissioned Air Force base in California. Photographer: Patrick T.

Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images (credit: Getty Images)
Researchers from Bochum, Germany, and San Diego, California, say they’ve found the precise mechanisms that allowed diesel Volkswagens and Audis to engage or disengage emissions controls depending on whether the cars were being driven in a lab or driven under real-world conditions.

As a bonus, the researchers also found previously-undisclosed code on a diesel Fiat 500 sold in Europe.
Auto manufacturers have been cheating on emissions control tests for decades, but until recently, their cheats were fairly simple.

Temperature-sensing or time-delay switches could cut the emissions control system when a car was being driven under certain conditions.
These days, cars are an order of magnitude more complex, making it easier for manufacturers to hide cheats among the 100 million lines of code that make up a modern, premium-class vehicle.
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