Not sure if this is of much interest and the practical side...well...read on...
From what I have read it appears that GOL runs a nice independent testing group that gets some good non-affiliated data while making use of the scientific method. I was just pondering about taking it to the next level. It also appears that in the radar-type world that there are a number of people out there that make a lot of outlandish claims and have a lot of market affiliation. There are also the ever present YouTube videos that make for some entertaining few minutes, but are not anything that can be used as research. The singular form of the word data is not anecdote. Personally, I would think market affiliation by itself can be overcome by humans by simply using reasoning…but that’s probably another story.
In scholarly communities where ideas, hypotheses, and theories are spread around, there are some practices that assist in separating actual knowledge from the chaff. One of these is the scientific method. Another is the use of independent peer reviews. Making a test available for peer review makes for a bit more work. The methodology and research data have to be listed in such a way so that a separate group may be able to follow the same recipe and come to the same findings within the scope of the research.
If any of you recall Pons and Fleishman n in the late 80’s as they made a claim of cold fusion. The scientific community became excited and skeptical at the same time as peer groups wanted to see about recreating the tests. Unfortunately the peer research found that the claims were not to be (later peer research noted some very small gains, but nothing to write home about). This idea isn’t new to anybody around here when we think of RadarRoy’s $50k challenge to anybody that can peer-review a working RMR device.
There are different research methodologies and each have their uses depending upon what’s being done. A real world test as we’ve often seen is not something that can have the scope of measuring all the variables that can be a factor, so it’s not something that would be considered quantitative research. However, if properly organized, performed, and communicated, it is an effective form of qualitative research. And qualitative research is every bit as effective, if not more, than quantitative research.
Bringing this down to the practical level would take some thought. But one prohibitive part may be the cost or resources involved for it. But the basic idea is that one group writes up their testing methodology, performs the test, gathers the data, and communicates their findings. Then another group could perform that exact same test as close as can be with relevant factors. Same vehicles, same colors, same location or near identical location. Time would obviously be different and makes for possible weather differences. Though the weather part could be repeated if the peer groups were able to wait for similar weather patterns. And last would be using the same hardware…either the same brands/models or the exact same hardware.
Again, I’m not seeing a way around the time, money, resources part as we’ve all got lives and not endless credit cards to be buying up RDs and radar/lidar guns.
So thus endeth a running thought about using scholarly methods to this industry that seems to make a lot of claims and advertisements. I was just thinking how cool it would be for a few independent groups to make their own claims, then have other groups confirm their findings using these methods. Then the clowns could be better laughed out of any serious discussions. This would be especially true if this research was documented well enough at each stage to be published in peer-reviewed journals.
Hmmm…maybe we could get some of that stimulus money for a government grant of $600k to sponsor the research…