Weber State center helping to improve auto technology

Published: Saturday, Dec. 7 2013 5:15 p.m. MST

Information technology student Ronald Hunt created the Utah Air app and is responsible for most IT functions at NCAST. In less than a month, more than 4,000 people have downloaded the app. Hunt said he would like to see about 20,000 mobile users by next year.

As for his NCAST experience, Hunt said he feels fortunate to be able to work on useful projects that allow him to use his programming skills.

“It’s a good opportunity to learn because you get to work on real-world projects,” he said.

NCAST program coordinator Chris Woodhave, who oversees the OBD Clearinghouse and has helped author some course curriculum, said working at the center has been a “surreal” experience.

“To be told that this is what we want our training manual to be about and then have to start from scratch gathering course material, and to have those books printed out and given to students was great,” Woodhave said.

In addition to the National OBD Clearinghouse, projects currently underway at the center include advanced diagnostic training, as well as OBD training for Vermont and Maryland.

Thomas said automotive manufacturers often contact NCAST when they have issues with vehicle emissions equipment and ask the center to figure out what is causing the problem and come up with "a fix."

“They will give us technical service bulletins indicating a specific problem and tell us how they want us to fix the problem,” he said.

Having the center develop a solution prevents carmakers from issuing large-scale recalls, Woodhave explained.

Moving forward, the center will continue to work on developing controls to improve air quality in Utah and around the nation, Thomas said.

“The projects that we do here are all based on the students stepping up, learning the technologies, and then delivering a product and applying it,” he said.

Email: jlee@deseretnews.com

Twitter: JasenLee1

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