Brussels, 25 Jun 2003
Bringing innovation successfully to the market place was again illustrated during EUREKA's annual awards ceremony on 23 June.
The POLADIA project, which has developed diagnostic software system capable of monitoring a vehicle's exhaust gas emission levels was jointly awarded the EUREKA Lillehammer award for outstanding contributions to environmental protection.
MERMAID, the other project to receive the award, looked at developing a remote controlled monitoring system for measuring pollutants in coastal waters. Genolife, a French company picked up the Lynx prize for its development of a procedure to change the way new drugs and chemicals are tested.
'Winning the EUREKA Lillehammer award will make people more aware that EUREKA is helping to fund technology that they are using every day in their cars, technology that's making an important contribution to the protection of the environment,' explained Michael Pontoppidan of POLADIA's lead partner Magneti Marelli Motopropulsion France SAS, presenting the project on 24 June.
Indeed, figures show that emissions from Europe's millions of petrol-fuelled cars contribute substantially to greenhouse gases, a major factor in global warming. Over the past decade, stricter EU legislation has required automotive manufacturers and their components suppliers to reduce the damaging effects of their products on the environment by radically rethinking their technology and materials.
In response to this call, the POLADIA project developed a pollution monitoring system that detects factors likely to lead to higher exhaust emission levels, including misfiring and ignition problems, a malfunctioning oxygen sensor or catalytic converter, and anomalies in the engine control unit. Drivers are alerted to the problem by a flashing light on the dashboard.
'If a problem is detected in the car's system, there are two ways that the POLADIA system can act: either it can perform a recovery, a little like how the human immune system works, to try and resolve the problem. If it can't be fixed, then the software will do an error report to show that the car needs to be repaired,' explained Mr Pontoppidan.
To facilitate a speedy repair, the car's diagnostic system is connected to the garage's own diagnostic system and, via a computer print-out, the fault and its likely cause is specified.
Mr Pontoppidan told CORDIS News that such an innovative tool is pretty much the first of its kind and while funding for such a project would have eventually become available, 'the funding from EUREKA came at the right time, and has helped speed up its implementation.' Furthermore, 'EUREKA's ability in this case to work close to production ideas has been decisive in increasing the competitiveness of the European automobile industry,' claimed Mr Pontoppidan.
As a result of EUREKA's involvement, more than two million vehicles from European major car manufacturers (Peugeot, Fiat, Renault and Volkswagen) have already been fitted with the POLADIA diagnostic software, thus fulfilling the project's objective of supplying engine manufacturers with a timely, flexible, and performant system that not only fulfils legislative requirements at the time the car enters the market, but for the vehicle's entire lifetime.
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