TULA Technology, a Silicon Valley firm, says it has developed a new software solution to cylinder deactivation. Called Dynamic Skip Fire (DSF), the company says it can improve fuel economy by up to 15%.
DSF is a powerful signal processing system that constantly monitors each cylinder. Using vehicle inputs such as throttle position, gear selected, ambient temperature, and coolant temperature, it can instantly determine whether a particular cylinder needs to fire in order for the engine to create enough torque to meet demand. If the software decides the answer is no, that cylinder receives no spark and is is temporarily deactivated.
Company CEO Scott Bailey says the mechanical component of cylinder deactivation uses hardware commonly available today but says the processing power needed to monitor each individual cylinder electronically at all times simply did not exist before. Previously, cylinder deactivation had to apply to several cylinders at the same time for inline engines or to one whole bank of cylinders in an engine with a V configuration. He assured AutoBlog in an interview that the program is so sophisticated, it does not create any detectable engine vibration.
So far, General Motors has shown interest in the DSF system, although no production plans have been announced. But if the 15% fuel economy claim stands up to real world testing, we can be sure manufacturers will be standing in line to sign up.