The advantage of including Remote OBD as part of a vehicle inspection program is a significant improvement in air pollution reduction. The US EPA has long recognized that if a vehicle is inspected periodically, it can still have mechanical failures between inspections that can cause increased tailpipe emissions. Therefore, The US EPA has introduced the concept of “continuous monitoring” of vehicle systems to identify vehicles with emission related problems between normal inspection cycles and published Recommended Guidance for Remote OBD I/M Programs in September 2010. States that follow the new EPA Guidance will be able to claim credit for additional emission reductions in the vehicle inspection programs.
How Remote OBD Works
Remote OBD uses wireless technology to continuously monitor the emission related component status of motor vehicles. Through continuous monitoring, vehicle conditions that can cause elevated emissions can be identified more frequently than through traditional periodic inspection.
Opus Inspections’s Remote OBD system comprises three basic elements:
- A Remote OBD Link, which is a device on-board the vehicle that captures data from the OBD system and transmits it wirelessly.
- A method of receiving the data from the Remote OBD Link™, which may be an existing wireless network or one specifically created for the purpose.
- A Vehicle Inspection Database (Remote OBD VID) that processes the Remote OBD data and performs I/M specific functions including determining pass/fail condition and reporting to the administrative agencies and motorists.
The Remote OBD system is able to identify when the vehicle’s Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) is commanded on and also when Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) conditions have been resolved. Once a continuous inspection failure has occurred, the motorist can be notified that repairs are required. The Remote OBD management system (OBD VID) is structured to continue monitoring vehicles that have been flagged as needing repair to determine if and when the MIL is off and all supported monitors indicate ready.
The Remote OBD system is also able to identify when a vehicle has one or more monitors that are persistently not ready. If a particular monitor on a particular vehicle fails to become ready over the course of time, it may indicate that a problem exists with the OBD system. This situation can prompt notification and repair as if the MIL were commanded on. In periodic vehicle inspection programs, EPA and the states instituted the practice of allowing vehicles with one or two monitors not ready to be tested anyway so as not to unduly inconvenience motorists. With the Remote OBD approach, this practice is no longer needed. Allowing vehicles to pass with monitors not ready reduces the emission reduction benefit of the program. However, it may be the case that some vehicles have known persistent readiness monitor problems and will be need to be excluded from the requirement for full readiness if the vehicles are accepted into the program.
The OBD Link does not pre-process data for making decisions relevant to passing or failing an inspection program. Events are captured and transmitted to the Remote OBD VID without prejudice so that the Remote OBD VID will be able to analyze the raw data for inspection program purposes.
By maintaining a historical record of events and resolved events, logged by date and time, the Remote OBD VID is able to analyze and report on the data en masse or by individual vehicles. Such analysis can include support for quality assurance and auditing, information for motorists, reporting vehicle status to authorities for enforcement action, and statistical analysis to measure program effectiveness. Data mining on the Remote OBD VID may provide government agencies with information to help estimate air quality benefits of continuous OBD monitoring as compared with traditional periodic vehicle inspection and maintenance programs. Obtaining additional air quality benefits is increasingly critical to agencies that are struggling to attain federally mandated standards.
Opus Inspections’s Remote OBD system meets the US EPA guidance for continuous monitoring. States conducting continuous monitoring according to the guidance document will be able to take credit for additional air quality improvement.
The following diagram depicts a typical Remote OBD application that supports secure network access by several constituencies.