- GM warned dealers that the Performance Data Recorder's Valet Mode on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray may violate privacy laws in some states.
- But a GM spokesman told Edmunds that a software update is on the way to correct the problem and should be available some time next month.
- "The update will disable the audio recording feature in Valet Mode but all other features of PDR will continue to operate normally," said Monte Doran, a Chevrolet spokesman.
DETROIT — GM warned dealers that the Performance Data Recorder's Valet Mode on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray may violate privacy laws in some states but told Edmunds that a software update is on the way to correct the problem.
The notice sent to Corvette dealers reads, in part: "To help our customers use the Performance Data Recorder consistent with legal requirements that pertain to audio recording devices, we will be requiring a very important update to the system of each affected vehicle in the near future. We expect that the update will be available early next month. At that time, we will provide details about the update and let you know what steps you need to take, if any, to complete the update for vehicles in your inventory."
As previously reported by Edmunds, the enhanced Valet Mode, part of a $1,795 options package that bundles a navigation system and Performance Data Recorder, allows concerned owners to record audio, video and telemetry while their Corvette is in the hands of a parking-lot attendant.
When it was first introduced, Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles called Valet Mode "a baby monitor for your car" and said in a statement: "Anyone who has felt apprehension about handing over their keys will appreciate the peace of mind of knowing exactly what happened while their baby was out of sight."
Sounds like a great idea, right?
But it turns out that audio recording without the subject's permission is illegal in many states. So, without the software fix, it's possible that a Corvette owner could be committing a crime by engaging Valet Mode while the car is being driven by another party.
Chevrolet spokesman Monte Doran told Edmunds: "The update will disable the audio recording function in Valet Mode but all other features of PDR will continue to operate normally."
Doran said programming for the update is currently in progress, after which there will be a testing phase to ensure that the new software works properly. He confirmed that the update should be in the hands of dealers some time next month.
"In the meantime," GM told Corvette dealers, "you must advise any customers who take delivery of an impacted vehicle that they should refrain from using the Valet Mode until the update takes place. If they do use the Valet Mode, they should notify any occupants of the vehicle that they will be recorded while in the vehicle, and obtain their consent to this recording. It is very important that you explain this to each customer at the time of delivery."
GM also sent letters to current owners of 2015 Corvettes asking them either not to use Valet Mode before the update is installed or to obtain recording consent from other occupants.
Edmunds says: If they're not careful, it seems that owners could be charged with more than speeding in their 2015 Corvettes.