CE-CERT Launches Onboard Sensing, Analysis, and Reporting (OSAR) Consortia

OSAR Consortia Timeline
OSAR Constortia Timeline


UC Riverside, Marlan and Rosemary College of Engineering - Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) has launched the Onboard Sensing, Analysis and Reporting (OSAR) Consortium. In partnership with academia, industry and government agencies, the OSAR Consortium program of research will investigate the feasibility and efficacy of in-use emission regulations premised on reliable on-board continuous emissions measurement and reporting systems that can lead to attainment of significantly improved air quality standards in environmentally impacted areas.

Under the leadership of the OSAR Consortium Director, Dr. Kent Johnson, the OSAR Consortium will join experts from academia, industry, and government agencies to collaborate on developing the next generation of on-board sensors, analysis, and reporting systems for assessing the real-world impact of mobile source (vehicle) emissions, as well as developing the best mechanisms for real-time emissions reporting that properly accounts for concerns regarding proprietary information, privacy, data uncertainty, and economic considerations.   

The OSAR Consortium will encourage membership based upon shared values to investigate potential new in-use-oriented regulatory paradigms and protocols that are consistent, fair, and reliable, and that promote real-world reduced emissions from mobile sources, particularly in impacted communities like the Inland Empire. The founding members of the OSAR Consortium include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resource Board (CARB), the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA), and the Manufacturers of Emissions Controls Association (MECA). OSAR Consortium Industry Liaison, Mike Allen, intends to grow OSAR membership over the course of this year and is in joint discussions with Dr. Johnson and a number of other OEMs who are interested in joining and participating in the OSAR Consortium mission.

 The OSAR Consortium’s Board of Advisors, constituted from representatives of the consortium members, will provide valuable input from experienced leaders across key disciplines and will be the OSAR Consortium’s primary consultative body. OSAR’s kick off meeting will take place virtually on May 6th with all Board of Advisor members present in a web supported format consistent with COVID-19 social distancing mitigations. The OSAR consortium will meet quarterly after that.    

The OSAR Consortium mission is to intentionally create a paradigm shift in how we regulate vehicle emissions by leveraging advancements in vehicle emission sensors, data science, big data management and robust network vehicle connectivity. Current vehicle emissions regulations are based on make/model laboratory certifications that simulate in-use/on-road conditions. In reality, the simulation does not accurately reflect in-use conditions and the real-world impact of vehicle emissions is not known with any specificity. A solution to close the gap between certification and in-use is to measure all vehicles all the time with on board sensing and validate compliance from the in-use fleet of vehicles under the conditions where they produce emissions. It is suggested, that there will always be a gap between standards (policy) and the in-use emissions (real exposure) until we focus on the in-use for our compliance and certification methods. Agencies, industry and academia agree that “in-use” is where we need to focus, so it is time to start thinking this way in our standards.

The initial focus of OSAR research is to create an on-board reporting system to guide the heavy-duty truck industry into a sustainable path of emissions control for their vehicles using the real world as the design platform. The funds and in-kind contributions provided by OSAR Consortium members will leverage larger dollars from industry as we demonstrate and consider in-use design methods for regulations. It is believed this seed funding will spur the industry into a solution that includes instrumenting all new heavy-duty trucks with ideas for retrofitting older ones depending on feedback from the regulatory agencies. Also, it is also believed the OSAR consortium will be supported by industry as it benefits everyone with a fair and practical solution for emissions regulations. Eventually other mobile sources will follow this pattern including non-road and light duty passenger cars.