Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Portland drivers can check car emissions at kiosks

This article covers a pretty novel use of self-service technology:
Starting next year, self-service kiosks and a dashboard device that sends auto emissions data to the state will allow drivers in the Portland and Medford areas to avoid long lines at DEQ stations.

The dashboard device, at $39, tells the state if your car is polluting. Drivers will get an e-mail, a postcard and 45 days to fix it.

The device will not record speed or location.

"I don't care where they've been or how fast they're driving,'' assures Ted Kotsakis, head of the state Vehicle Inspection Program, who's leading development of the new system.

It is intended to keep the air cleaner by catching smog-belching cars without waiting as much as two years until they show up for an inspection. And it will save the state the cost of building new emissions check stations to handle the 1.4 million Oregon vehicles that need testing each time their registration is renewed.
So basically, the idea is that you install some sort of pollution-monitoring LoJack in your car, the system keeps track of your emissions, and you can proactively check to make sure you aren't polluting too badly. If kiosks were available at many gas stations, service stations, etc. I could see this working, but if not properly deployed, I would be very surprised to see this kind of system get any major traction.

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