Sensor architecture allows real-time auto emissions monitoring, Pt. 1

April 20, 2012 // By Ravindra Arora, Manmohan Rana, and Sunil Deep Maheshwari Freescale Semiconductor
As opposed to current periodic emission-control system testing—sensors, MCUs, and memory come together in an updated approach to real-time exhaust monitoring for improved pollution control.

"Green" is the buzzword these days. Globally, various organizations are striving to make their processes as eco-friendly as possible, with the automotive industry one of the leaders in this endeavor.

Vehicle-emissions are being strictly monitored and emission-norms being revised regularly to ensure a "greener" and pollution-free environment. However, present vehicle pollution-checking is still dependent on old mechanisms of manual-regular-checking of the auto-exhaust. The exhausts are sensed and analyzed by a machine and a pollution certificate is issued.

This article highlights inherent limitations of this traditional approach and proposes a real-time exhaust monitoring solution to enforce better pollution control for a greener future."

The challenges of emission pollution control
Probably, pollution is one of the biggest problems which humankind is facing today and the worst part is that the pollution has reached such a level that we have ourselves stuck in a vicious cycle of this evil and auto emission is one of the biggest contributors. Automobiles used worldwide produce vast amount of harmful exhausts including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOX), and un-burned hydrocarbons. All these add to greenhouse gases and are significant contributors to global warming.

Taming this devil has become one of the biggest challenges for the governments worldwide. Adoption of cleaner fuels like compressed natural gas and commercial development of hydrogen-based automobiles is one of the priorities for many agencies. However, before we can reach such a long-term, fool-proof solution, probably the easiest and the cheapest solution is to keep the pollution emissions of the current automobiles in check.

In every country, the emission norms are regulated by the respective pollution control regulatory body. Vehicles are checked for their emissions and if exhaust is within the specified limit, a certificate might be issued for the vehicle, which may come with an expiry date. However, this system has its own loopholes—the system only checks for the emissions on the date of the test, not in between the

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