Vehicle System Forensics

Almost every modern vehicle now contains an infotainment system capable of many activities similar to a mobile phone; capabilities including (but not limited to):

  • Music system
  • Satellite navigation
  • Access to system settings
  • Connection to Bluetooth devices (headsets, mobile phones etc)
  • Ability to make and receive phone calls
  • Ability to send and receive SMS messages
  • Ability to store contacts from paired devices
  • Ability to access paired phone’s own satellite navigation application and use it instead of the stock, built-in application
  • Ability to access and use Android Auto and Apple Car Play


This unit is not just a user interface it is an integral component taking information from sensors all over the vehicle in order to keep the driver informed and connected. Some of this data is being stored within the infotainment system.

Using specialist hardware and software we are able to download the memory of a vehicle and extract:

  • A list of all paired devices
  • SMS
  • Call logs
  • Saved locations (Home, office etc)
  • GPS coordinates and journey information
  • Event data
  • Gear changes
  • Door opened / closed
  • Hard Acceleration Events
  • Hard Braking Events
  • USB device connection
  • Phone connection
  • Journeys, showing the actual route taken
  • And much more…

Vehicle forensics is a notoriously difficult discipline, made more challenging by car manufacturers who are less than forthcoming with technical data regarding their in car systems.

In the US, legislation exists which forces the manufacturers of all cars produced since 2011 to allow access to data contained within car systems by third parties. In the UK, there is no such legislation and, as a result, extracting data from UK models can be far more difficult. That said, we are already capable of extracting data from ~10,000 models of vehicle and that figure is constantly rising…

We are one of the only companies in the UK to possess the specialist equipment, techniques and knowledge to be able to access vehicular data in this manner.

Additionally, our commitment to research and development and our hard earned reputation as being one of the leading expert investigation consultants specialising in vehicle related incidents in the UK further sets us apart – we are one of a very few companies worldwide that have done any validation and testing around vehicle infotainment extractions and this enables us to have a better understanding of the data types and what they mean.

A fact few people are aware of is that most modern vehicles contain an event data recorder. This device records the seconds leading up to a crash or near crash event and can reveal such information as:

  • Were seatbelts connected?
  • The speed of the car
  • We’re the brakes applied? If so, when?
  • What was the angle of the steering wheel?
  • Was the car hit from behind or the front? Or from behind, then the front? Or from the side? Etc…
  • Certain driver inputs for about 5 seconds before a crash
  • Vehicle crash severity signature
  • Post-crash data such as the activation of an automatic collision notification (ACN) system

We are able to locate and extract the event data recorder from the vehicle and download all available data using our industry leading equipment and skills.

This data can be invaluable for crash investigators and insurance companies to assist in determining exactly what happened and who, if anyone, was at fault, especially in cases where there are no witnesses or witness statements are in conflict.

The above infotainment and EDR data can often give access to data unavailable by any other means. This can be especially useful when combined with mobile phone data extracted from drivers.

Using all of these valuable data resources, we are able to build a clearer picture than ever before of exactly what happened during a crash.