In 2010, FirstLook® piezoelectric sensor (FLS) inventor John Brock and Jim Mentele started working with a fleet owner (about 100 Freightliner semis with Detroit engines), collecting exhaust and crankcase waveforms, analyzing them and comparing with maintenance and operating data. We identified a number of patterns that related to engine problems and correlated to vehicle performance. Since the Detroit engines had DDEC engine controllers and data collection, we started saving the FLS and DDEC (ECM) data.
In 2013, Doug Strock and Jim formed what became Predictive Fleet Technologies, Inc. (PFT) to develop an integrated set of computer applications to collect the data and present reports and analyses to suggest ways for business performance improvements.
We realized that although the FLS gave us pressure fluctuations and vibrational information not visible from the ECM (OBD codes), there were a number of other sources of readily available data to aid in engine diagnosis, and in fact to enable prediction of deterioration of various vehicle components. Many of the ‘deteriorations’ are influenced by driver behavior, weather and road conditions as well as by manufacturer design and production process. These concepts are described in our patent, US 2019/0304214 A1.
We package the application that collects the engine FLS data as Engine Polygraph and the Fleet Management application with vehicle and engine data, Engine Angel.