Non-invasive Diagnosis of Internal Combustion Engine Performance


Engine malfunction can cause sluggish performance, excessive fuel consumption and safety issues. While routine maintenance is scheduled, the engine remains vulnerable to have new problems during the time interval between services. Without addressing them in a timely fashion, they can lead to problems.  The ideal solution is to monitor the engine performance in frequent intervals for early detection of flaws. However, it consumes time and cost. Our invention addresses this need. The approach is proactive, non-invasive, cost effective and time saving. 


This approach uses a triaxial accelerometer, which can either be a low cost standalone unit or one embedded in a smart phone, to measure the vibration of a vehicle in all three directions when the engine is idling at constant speed. The vibration spectrum records information of engine performance and the condition of vehicle chassis components. Measurements will be made frequently to form a database for future measurement to be compared with. Any deviation indicates flaw and the onset of potential problems.  


The evaluation procedure is clean and fast. The collected data will be sent to the database for comparison and analysis. The program can detect abnormalities or small vibrations of the engine and suspension system during operation to improve vehicle performance. Maintenance service will be carried out as needed to correct the problems before causing severe consequences.


This not only helps users record the daily performance data of the engine, but also reduces the down time of the vehicle due to inspection and hence saves the costs.



The evaluation is easy to perform, which is just placing a small measuring device (i.e. accelerometer) at the “sweet spot” of the vehicle which allows vibration measurement without excessive noise. The three-axis accelerometer of the device will measure the vibration magnitude of the vehicle. This process is fast as it takes less than 2 minutes to collect the data.


The collected data will then be sent to the developed program for analysis and be compared with the data in the database. This can be vehicle specific.


Abnormal vibration and flaws of the engine and suspension system could be detected. It provides quantitative data for analysis and improvement.


Daily, speedy diagnosis and just-in-time maintenance can also be achieved.



Transportation industry could be benefited from this technology.

For routine operation, a low-cost (in the range under US$30), standalone triaxial accelerometer can be mounted at the sweet spot of the vehicle. The on/off can be controlled remotely by the driver. The collected data will be transmitted to any computational device through cloud for analysis.

Results will be stored in a database for tracking engine performance of different types of vehicles such as minibus and bus.

A user-friendly software or mobile application can be further developed for every vehicle owner. The owners can conduct engine and suspension diagnosis themselves. That saves time and money as they can just visit the car repair shop when in need.



According to data provider IHS Markit, by 2050, 60 – 80% of global new car sales will be electric vehicles, but internal combustion engine (ICE) cars will still account for 1.9 billion vehicles on the road because of their longevity. In the US, gasoline-powered cars still account for nearly 80% of the market by 2030. In 2020, just over 2% of global sales were battery-electric.

Therefore, even though more and more countries have announced the full phase-out of ICE car sales over the next 10‑30 years, it will be decades before the new electric cars can displace the ICE vehicles. Electric vehicles and ICE vehicles may need to share the road for a long time.



Simple monitoring practice could be carried out frequently, even on a daily basis due to its simplicity.

This technology could reduce maintenance costs and improve engine performance and fuel-efficiency.

If there is a problem with the engine, it can be repaired in time to avoid malfunctions or accidents during driving.


Infocomm - Big Data, Data Analytics, Data Mining & Data Visualisation
Infocomm - Cloud Computing
Infocomm - Data Processing
Technology Status

Available for Licensing

Technology Readiness Level

Combustion engine, engine diagnostics, engine inspection, engine performance

Published on
Mar 24, 2021
Updated on
Mar 24, 2021
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