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New System Monitors Emissions in Moving Vehicles; Targeted to Fleet Managers

Eco-Log system diagram. Click to enlarge

A UK-based automotive consultancy and software developer, Lysanda, has introduced Eco-Log, a system that calculates and reports the composition and the levels of emissions from a moving vehicle.

Rather than directly measure the gases in the exhaust pipe, the Eco-Log uses signals obtained from the vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic system (OBD) to derive (from mathematical 1-D flow modelling) the emissions’ characteristics.

An emissions model shell is created using code algorithms proven on laboratory powertrain design tools. This emissions model requires a number of inputs to be measured and sensed in order to calculate the exhaust content. These values include load, engine speed, throttle angle, engine temperature and (for diesels) injector profile, timing, shape and duration. These are plotted against the powertrain characteristics map.

The data is transmitted back to a base station over the mobile phone network.

Lysanda has externally calibrated Eco-Log’s accuracy at the Millbrook Proving Ground in a series of trials using a test vehicle that ran on three different drive cycles: NEDC, EPA 3 and US 06.

Eco-Log Target and Test Cycle Results
Pollutant Target NEDC EPA 3 US 06
CO2 +/- 2.5% +/- 0.8% +/- 1.15% +/- 1.8%
NOx +/- 7.5% +/- 3.3% +/- 2.15% +/- 1.8%
PM +/- 7.5% +/- 5.0% +/- 12.0% n/a

A Prototype Eco-Log unit is currently fitted to a Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi. The Focus is one of the new generation cleaner diesels, coming equipped with a diesel particulate filter and an exhaust gas recycler as well as a diesel catalyst.

Sample output. Click to enlarge.

Sample output charts from the Focus are shown at the right. The bars show grams per km of CO2 and the main diesel pollutants: HC (Hydrocarbon), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Particulate Matter (PM).

The top chart shows the Focus running quietly for 1km on a level road; the bottom shows the car travelling a 1km distance with hard acceleration and passing.

The Eco-Log is aimed initially at Fleet Managers, to enable them to monitor how their vehicles are being driven and the exact fuel economy each one achieves in its daily operations, mile by mile, minute by minute.  It could help them improve emissions efficiency by identifying particularly heavy footed drivers and particularly inefficient vehicles. We have estimated that this could generate savings of at least 5% per year.

In the future, the Eco-Log may also assist fleet operators when the London Low Emission Zone is introduced in 2008.  This technology will allow fleet operators to prove the true emissions of their vehicles, and therefore demonstrate compliance with the restrictions imposed for the zone.

—Alexander Willard, CEO and founder of Lysanda

Lysanda was founded in 2004 by Alexander Willard, a former power-train specialist and program manager with Ford and Jaguar. The company’s chief development partner is The Pi Group, the Cambridge-based automotive electronics specialists whose other projects have included telemetry for Formula 1 teams.

The company received a portion of its initial funding from EEDA, the East of England Development Agency.


Rafael Seidl

You could of course identify drivers with lead feet using other means, e.g. by correlating fuel consumption (as documented by gas station receipts) with driver assignments. However, having the vehicles do this automatically is cheaper and the feedback more immediate. The setup, which requires nothing more than a small additional computer and software (i.e. it is cheap to mass-produce) would be even more useful if it also recorded GPS location, vehicle orientation (via Hall sensors and the Earth's magnetic field) and accurate timestamps.

While that might sound rather big-brotherish, these are commercial fleets and the drivers are using company equipment on company time. If this up-to-the-moment data is automatically polled via a mobile data link, operators and perhaps even customers can track e.g. priority packages with greater precision.

In addition, the data recorded may be valuable for traffic planners and engineers. This would help offset the cost of the logging system.

Arnold Garnsey

Telemetry,n Automatic measurement of something distant or inaccessible(pardon my Australian english)and the transmission of the measurements to a device for recording or displaying them.
Vale John Britton; the New Zealander privateer motorcycle maker and developer who brought this technology to market.

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