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Wireless sensors could make diesel engines greener

Staff writer ▼ | December 18, 2015
In the future wireless devices could also benefit the automotive industry, by helping diesel engines use less fuel while curbing soot and ash emissions.
Diesel engine
Technology and science   MIT spinout Filter Sensing Technologies
Years ago, MIT spinout Filter Sensing Technologies (FST) invented sensors that use radio frequency signals—commonly used to transmit and receive data from wireless devices—to measure in real-time exactly how much soot and ash builds up in engine exhaust filters.

These data help automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)—which build engines and vehicles—to program engines to burn fuel more efficiently to clean the filters.

Now, with an acquisition in October by CTS Corporation, a major manufacturer of vehicle electronics and sensors, FTS is poised to scale up manufacturing of its sensors for diesel engines, which must meet increasingly strict emissions limits.

"The industry dynamics are such that it is challenging for a small company to scale and meet OEM requirements of quality and volume. This means additional resources for scaling up and manufacturing" to meet those requirements, says FST co-founder and sensor co-inventor Alex Sappok PhD '09, former CEO of FST and now director of RF sensors for CTS.

FST's co-founder and sensor co-inventor is Leslie Bromberg '73, PhD '77, a research scientist at MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center.

Headquartered in Malden, Massachusetts, FST is now the Boston Innovation Office for CTS, where the startup team will further develop and explore other applications for the sensors. Currently, the FST sensors are being piloted with OEMs across the United States, Europe, and Japan for commercial vehicles as well as construction and agricultural equipment.

The sensors could be available to the automotive industry within a few years.


 

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