German automaker Audi, will voluntarily retrofit 850,000 diesel cars with new software to improve their emission performance.
According to recent research studies, diesel cars produce 10 times more toxic air pollution than heavy trucks and buses.
A group of researchers set up a global inventory of the emissions pumped out by cars and trucks on the road, over and above the legal limits monitored by lab-based tests.
Data has also revealed that annually at least 38,000 people die due to the failure of diesel vehicles to meet official limits.
In July 2017, German car manufacturers, Mercedes and Daimler announced a recall of over three million cars over concerns of emission standards. They asked owners to upgrade a software already present in the cars.
Presently, Audi has promised that the upgrade they are offering will "improve emissions behaviour in real driving conditions further beyond existing legal requirements".
Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst at investment bank Evercore ISI, said, "What Audi and Mercedes have announced is just the tip of the iceberg. All other carmakers will follow and offer improvements to the engine management software.”
The German automotive industry is one of the largest employers in the country and German cars are considered pioneers in their field. However, there is growing concern that the performance of vehicles in labs are different from the performance in the real world. A study noted that diesel cars and trucks from 10 countries produced 50% more nitrogen oxide emissions than lab tests showed.
Our assessment is that with the advent of hybrid, solar and electric cars, it will be extremely important for automobile companies who power their cars using diesel engines to update their technology. The automobile industry is currently investing millions of dollars to upgrade their diesel technology. Diesel engines have lower carbon dioxide, one of the Greenhouse gases blamed by scientists for global warming.