Re: No software knowledge necessary....
I'm very curious if we're going to see more fallout from this as time goes on. I find it hard to imagine that some other auto-maker didn't purchase a VW TDI over all of those years to do their own testing to figure out how VW was pulling it off (and why they couldn't). And, if they would have done so, they would have discovered this cheat. And, that almost certainly being the case, why wouldn't they have exposed VW? So, my guess is that there are a lot of skeletons in the closet here.
(Actually, VW was caught once in the past, and I think this current issue was known as far as a year ago if the sources I've recently heard are correct... haven't had time to check them myself. Also, there are some EU/Russia/Germany/USA politics going on here which I'm not sure can be ignored in the breaking of this story at this moment in time... but that's a whole other discussion.)
But, yes, it's clear more *actual* testing needs to be done vs just trusting the computer or simplistic test environment. And, in this case, it's not like they have to test every single car with advanced methods. If the govt. just went at random (like Consumers Report does) and purchased one and did advanced testing on it... so long as the results matched up, maybe the more simplistic testing on every vehicle would be fine.
What also ticks me off about this (as a VW TDI owner wanting to actually help the environment... aside from practicality and performance) is that NOx is REAL pollution, and all this global warming baloney lead the EU to choose NOx over CO2 (not directly harmful) as a matter of policy. This lead VW and other makers to strive for 'clean' diesel, as diesel emmits much less CO2 than gasoline. I was tricked into believing they'd found a best of both worlds solution, when in fact they (and by extension, I) were/was poisoning people vs feeding plants.