March 24, 2003


Ford, Sensors Inc. develop on-road emissions testing

Dearborn, Michigan – Scientists from Ford and Sensors Inc. have developed a way to measure vehicle emissions by using on-road testing that captures real-world driving conditions.

“These real-world emissions tests supplements the extensive research we already perform in our labs and give our customers products developed with accurate and reliable emissions data that will stand up to real world conditions,” said Gerhard Schmidt, Vice President of Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Company.

Historically, most emissions validation tests have been performed in dynamometer laboratories. These facilities follow strict U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) procedures that call for specific engine loads and speeds to be applied to each vehicle while emissions are collected for analysis. In the future, emissions testing is expected to encompass both dynamometer and on-road testing cycles.

Although dynamometer testing has been the industry standard for more than 30 years, many experts believe that on-road emissions data provides additional information that, in certain circumstances, cannot be attained with the current dynamometer test protocols. This is because dynamometers, although able to produce very accurate, repeatable data under controlled conditions, are unable to easily duplicate the changing scenarios encountered on the road, such as grade, four-wheel braking, weather and fuel quality.

“Both Ford and Sensors, Inc. have been developing on-board emissions technology separately for many years, but this latest agreement will allow the best technology from both companies to be combined into one leading-edge emissions monitoring system, called SEMTECH,” said Bill Coughlin, President and CEO of Ford Global Technologies, LLC.

The Ford and Sensors SEMTECH system is a self-contained, battery powered analytical unit that can be installed in the trunk of a test vehicle to measure tailpipe emissions. An exhaust probe gathers the emissions while the test system reads data coming from the vehicle’s on-board computer. The mass of gaseous pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons emitted by gasoline and diesel powered vehicles is continuously measured by the system. The data can either be recorded or transmitted from the test vehicle via satellite connection to a remote location for analysis.

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