DETROIT -- The ripples of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal have reached nearly every aspect of the automotive industry over the last month. So for the exhibitors at the Automotive Testing Expo North America in suburban Detroit this week, it was an opportune time to talk about their products and services.
In light of the VW scandal, the companies that deal with emissions testing seemed even more relevant.
“Obviously, there’s a community within the automotive world who is focused on emissions,” said Jeremy Burne, marketing director for Global MRV. “All the engineers, product development guys, guys who do the certification, those people are all very familiar with what’s going on in the emissions world. What [the VW scandal] has done has brought the topic out to the general public’s view. It definitely has raised the level of interest among our customers and the perspective customers.”
There were over 280 booths at the three-day expo, up 15 percent from 2014. Representatives from the expo said foot traffic was higher and that the total attendance for the first day was higher than last year’s first day.
Global MRV was at the expo highlighting its newest portable emissions measurement system (PEMS).
Dubbed the “Firefly,” the patented device measures mass flow emissions of CO, CO2, NOx, HC, O2 in real time while simultaneously collecting engine and GPS data from diesel- or gas-powered vehicles.
“Firefly basically shrinks this down to a box that can be stored in any vehicle either as an aftermarket item or an OEM item,” said Burne. “You can actually stream the data then up to the cloud and curate the data to see what kind of data you want to see. As you build data, you can begin to do things like predict when the vehicle is falling outside of its operational parameters.”
One of the device’s benefits is its small size.
It’s 11 inches long by 11 inches wide and 3 inches high. It weighs 7 pounds.
Placed in the trunk, the Firefly is connected to the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics as well as a Wi-Fi connector, GPS and, finally, the exhaust pipe.
Burne said the installation process takes about one hour.
At the moment, the Firefly is in the prototype phase. Pricing hasn’t been set, but Burne said the maximum cost would be $500 once it hits production. However, Global MRV is aiming for a lower number. Ultimately, it depends on how many are produced.
Firefly has been in development for about two years, Burne said.
“This was developed essentially for a fleet application but the topicality, if you like, is ‘How are emissions measured now’ has become something that a lot of people want to know more about,” said Burne.
“With the Firefly technology, it is feasible to measure emissions from every vehicle in real time. The technology exists just like it does with your iPhone. It can track everywhere you’re going, and what your interests are, and what you’re doing. This is a technology that could be, essentially, implemented on a much bigger basis.”
Global MRV is aiming for the end of 2016 to release Firefly.
Said Burne: “Our point is simply, we have a solution. We have a solution for this, and we have a solution that can fit in every car.”