Michael Braukus

Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-1979)

H. Keith Henry

Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

(Phone: 757/864-6120)

Jeri Collins or Craig Rendahl

SPX Service Solutions, Tucson, AZ

(Phone: 616/329-7731 – 520/241-1572)

RELEASE: 00-109

Cities and states may soon have a new high-tech tool in the
battle against automotive air pollution, thanks to NASA satellite
technology originally developed to track global greenhouse gases
and the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

As envisioned, NASA’s atmospheric remote sensing technology
will be adapted to an autonomous roadside system to monitor motor
vehicle emissions. Cars and trucks will pass through a low-power
light beam, without stopping or slowing down. Space-age sensor
technology will instantly analyze vehicle exhaust pollutants
important to local and state governments working to meet
federally mandated air quality standards.

“Taking an accurate reading of several exhaust products as a
car passes by is a formidable challenge. We want to take a
measurement of all the gases of interest every one thousandth of
a second over a period of a half-second. Fortunately, our newest
remote sensing technology has that capability,” said Glen Sachse,
senior research scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center,
Hampton, VA. Sachse is one of six team members who invented the
highly-sensitive electro-optical system at the core of the

Today, NASA and SPX Service Solutions, Warren, MI, jointly
announced that the patented NASA technology has been exclusively
licensed to SPX for use in developing a new remote sensing device
to monitor motor vehicle exhaust.

“Remote testing of vehicle exhaust will provide governments
around the world with a fast, efficient and low-cost method to
identify and reduce motor vehicle air pollution and greenhouse
gases, which account for approximately one-half of all air
pollution,” said Craig Rendahl, remote sensing business leader
for SPX Service Solutions.

“With the number of vehicles on the road increasing every
year, we believe there is a significant global market for
technology of this nature,” said Rendahl. “SPX will offer a
basic unit which will be available at the end of 2000. With the
help of NASA, we expect to begin manufacturing a highly enhanced
remote sensing device before the end of 2001. This second-
generation product will contain many other features, including
the capability to test heavy-duty diesel vehicles.”

The U.S. Clean Air Act mandates that a certain percentage of
the U.S. fleet of vehicles be measured each year. The act allows
for remote sensing as an option.

In a process called “clean screening,” drivers who formerly
took their vehicles in for an annual emissions inspection would
receive a notice in the mail certifying that their vehicle has
passed twice in a 12-month period and that they do not have to
submit to an emissions test — at least that’s the expected
outcome for most drivers. As individual roadside exhaust
measurements are taken, the vehicle’s license plate would be
photographed and the data would be transmitted to a central
collecting point.

Those drivers whose vehicles passed would save both time and
money. Drivers whose vehicles failed or gave marginal readings
would be identified for additional testing and possible
emissions-related repairs.

In space, NASA uses remote sensing devices mounted on
satellites and back lighting from the sun to take global
atmospheric measurements as part of its Earth Science Enterprise
program. The program is aimed at expanding knowledge of the
Earth’s environment in order to provide the scientific basis for
sound policy decisions on environmental matters.

Service Solutions, a unit of SPX Corporation, provides
special service tools, equipment program management, electronic
diagnostics, emissions testing equipment and technical
information services for the global motor vehicle industry.

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