When Flint, Michigan’s Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) wanted to convert their aging buses to hybrid engines, they turned to Kettering University for some engineering assistance. They needed to be able to measure and record data in order to create parameters for the changeover and to ensure that the end product was a true improvement on the original engine's performance and efficiency.
Kettering University began the project by using computers to model the performance of MTA bus powertrain systems. Next, using DG Technologies' Dearborn Protocol Adapter (DPA) 4, they were able to gather critical lab and real-time data on the powertrain and other aspects of the buses both before and after the conversion from standard diesel to gasoline-electric hybrids. This allowed them to tune the hybrid solution to optimize efficiency in the new design. The DPA 4 functioned as a vehicle network analysis tool, but also as an integrated part of a data logger system, working with a custom software package and delivering the necessary data to be analyzed.
Mr. Jon Hintz of Kettering University is now working on obtaining funding for phase two of this project, which will allow even more strides in operational savings for the MTA.