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Project at a Glance

Project Status: complete

Report Published January 2000:

Title: Incorporation of wireless communications into vehicle on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems.

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Frank Di Genova

Contractor: Sierra Research

Contract Number: 96-332

Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: Mobile Sources & Fuels


The feasibility of incorporating radio communications into onboard diagnostic (OBD) systems for new cars and light trucks has been demonstrated through the successful completion of a field study using five vehicles equipped with prototype systems. Referred to as "OBDIII," OBD systems interfaced with radio communications would be a cost-effective alternative to the California vehicle inspection and maintenance program (called "Smog Check"). For an initial cost of less than $100 per vehicle and monitoring charges averaging less than $10 per year, the cost of OBDIII would be significantly lower than the cost of biennial Smog Check tests over the life of a vehicle. There would also be substantial value associated with saving the time now spent by motorists who must obtain Smog Check tests on properly maintained vehicles that pass the test. OBDIII is also projected to result in lower emissions due to the earlier detection of emissions-related defects.


For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893

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