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Sensor Reads Vehicle Clouds

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology

For immediate release

SENSOR READS VEHICLE CLOUDS

An infra-red sensing system that can instantly measure vehicle exhaust emissions – and catch offending motorists on video-camera – has been developed by Victoria Link Ltd, the research arm of Victoria University of Wellington.

According to Victoria Link research scientist Rose Gong, the system operates much like a speed camera and it is placed by the road where it measures gas emissions in car exhausts.

If a vehicle is shown to exceed emission standards, it can be immediately identified. Further detailed vehicle testing could be required and the owner possibly fined.

The system can also analyse and profile gas emissions in relation to driver behaviour. For example, when the driver accelerates and changes gears the system will show the different characteristics of emissions.

The information obtained from this analysis can be used in road and city planning. The equipment is likely to be used by governments or regulatory agencies to reduce pollutants from vehicle exhausts. The project to develop the sensor was funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Dr Gong says on-going research aims to measure the particulate emissions – which contain solid matter or droplets – from diesel vehicles.

“Particulate and gas emissions from carbon-based fuel combustion are now connected with serious ill-health and global climate change. Being able to determine these in real time is crucial to regulatory authorities and transport organisations when they set allowable emission limits, improving the efficiency of transport and reducing engine emissions,” Dr Gong says.

In March, the Government introduced a new rule aimed at smoky vehicles, known as the 10-second rule. A vehicle is not allowed to emit a continuous stream of clearly visible smoke for 10 seconds or more. The rule was introduced to allow the police to more easily identify and prosecute owners of vehicles that produce excessive smoke. Owners of smoky vehicles could face a fine of $150.

Contact:

· Dr. Rose Gong, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington. Ph: (04) 472-1000, ext 8392; fax (04) 463-5237; email: rose.gong@vuw.ac.nz.

· Peter Burke, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. Ph: (04) 917-7809; email: peter.burke@frst.govt.nz; web: www.frst.govt.nz.

· Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Media Ltd.
Contact: Ian Carson (04) 569-1742; ian@idmedia.co.nz, www.idmedia.co.nz.


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