Acquiring and Analyzing Data from Sensors and In-Vehicle Networks     


I.D.# C0522Printable Description
Duration: 2 Days
October 8-9, 2015 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. ) - Troy, Michigan  

Hotel & Travel Information

Data acquisition is required throughout the product's life cycle - in prototype performance evaluation, reliability/durability testing, duty-cycle analysis, end of line testing, and service and aftermarket product areas. Both lab and on-road testing are needed for components, sub-systems and entire vehicles.

As in-vehicle networks become increasingly more sophisticated in terms of the number of controllers, the speed at which they communicate, and the number of parameters available, they are a virtual goldmine for the test engineer. Using the data already available on the vehicle network, the engineer may only need to add any missing sensors (or in many cases, none at all).

After reviewing the traditional approach of acquiring data directly from sensors, the course will focus on the newer approach of obtaining data from the in-vehicle network for both automotive and heavy duty vehicles. Topics include the complications of taking data from the in-vehicle network and how to overcome them, current trends and applications, wireless data acquisition (Wi-Fi and cellular), GPS, relevant technical standards, and how to simultaneously acquire network data with direct sensor measurements. Both PC-based and logger (flight recorder) data acquisition will be covered. In addition, a practical guide for analysis and presentation techniques will be covered along with examples.

Learning Objectives
By attending this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Explain what it takes to acquire data from both in-vehicle networks and sensors
  • Compare and contrast acquiring data from both in-vehicle networks and directly from sensors
  • Understand the difference between OBD-II and the CAN protocol
  • Identify an unknown OBD-II network protocol
  • Define the four database types that relate in-vehicle network messages to scaled engineering parameters
  • Review vehicle messages and convert the messages to scaled engineering parameters using various automotive and heavy duty protocols and message types
  • Demonstrate how sample rate has a major effect on your data beyond the obvious and show how to select the optimum sample rate
  • List the four domains that are available to present your data to enhance understanding of the data
  • Avoid common pitfalls of acquiring and analyzing good data
  • Choose the best analysis techniques to better understand and present test data
  • Compare benefits of acquiring data with a PC vs. a stand-alone data logger (without a PC in the vehicle)

Who Should Attend
Any engineer, scientist or technician who wants to learn the fundamentals to acquire and analyze test data will benefit from this course. Typical attendees include: R&D engineers, test engineers and technicians, fleet owners, government agencies, and aftermarket product developers. The assumption is that the in-vehicle network is working properly and the emphasis is on how to maximize the information that can be obtained from the vehicle's network.

Some test experience is helpful and knowledge of college algebra is recommended.

Topical Outline

  • Acquiring Data Directly from Sensors
    • Sensor Inputs: Sensor overview, single-ended vs. differential inputs, proper ranging of the channels, zeroing offsets and signal conditioning.
    • Data Acquisition: Analog-to-digital converters (A/D), time and amplitude resolution, pre- and post-triggering, time synchronous averaging, sample rate, aliasing, frame length and number of frames in a data file.
  • Frequency Domain
    • Analyzing data in the frequency domain with the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) is a valuable tool to optimize sample rate, which affects many factors such as data quality (aliasing), time and frequency resolution, digital filtering, integration and differentiation. Analyzing and displaying the data in the revolution (angular) domain and order domain offer valuable insights into the data.
  • In-Vehicle Data Acquisition
    • Comparison of in-vehicle data acquisition with sensor data acquisition.
    • Explanation of OBD-II and what it can and cannot do for you
    • Examination of files containing hex messages. Learn the steps required to convert to useful engineering parameters (e.g. engine RPM, wheel speed, ambient temperature). Message files will be shown from both heavy duty and automotive vehicles


  • In-Vehicle Data Acquisition - continued
    • Step-by-step procedure to acquire data for both a PC and stand-alone loggers.
    • Explanation of why the database relating parameters and messages is the key and how to get this database information.
    • How to calculate fuel economy and fuel consumption from the in-vehicle network for automotive and heavy duty vehicles
    • Review of applicable standards and references.
    • How to identify unknown automotive protocols and learn about the various network protocols
    • Review of wireless data acquisition options, the advantages and disadvantages of them and the practical throughput rate for real-time data acquisition.
  • Data Analysis Techniques
    • How to select the best numerical techniques and how to optimize their performance for digital filtering (including IIR and FIR filters), integration, differentiation, and correlation.
    • How combining logic, statistics and Z transform provides a powerful technique to find key points along a waveform. Make decisions such as pass/fail or perform intelligent monitoring to store only the data of interest optimizing storage space and analysis time.
    • How to time correlate data taken from different sources, such as from the in-vehicle network and directly from sensors.

Instructor(s): Richard Walter, and Eric Walter
Richard Walter is the President and Founder of HEM Data Corporation. A pioneer in PC-based data acquisition and analysis, he has acquired data from in-vehicle networks since they were mandated in 1996. Mr. Walter previously worked at the Bendix Research Laboratories where he was awarded five patents for automotive inventions and gained valuable testing experience. He taught at Lawrence Technological University and has conducted numerous seminars and training sessions. He has had several articles and papers published in engineering journals including SAE and Sensors Magazine. Mr. Walter is a member of SAE, ASME and The Vibration Institute and is a registered professional engineer in Michigan. Mr. Walter has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Detroit, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Wayne State University and an M.E.M. in engineering management from the University of Detroit.

Eric Walter is a Software Developer at HEM Data Corporation. He has over 4 years of experience programming data acquisition and analysis software and has been the lead engineer on software including CAN analysis, J1939/OBD database editing, data transfer, and online fleet management. His programming expertise is in Microsoft .NET, technical web-design, and mobile iOS development. Mr. Walter has a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

Fees: $1365.00 ; SAE Members: $1092.00 - $1229.00

1.3 CEUs
You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.

“Your SAE course information has certainly awakened a new way of looking at diagnostics for me.”
Remo Bersinger
Mercedes-Benz AG
Shop Foreman

“Great course! The Instructor presented the details of data acquisition and analysis in an easy way to understand.”
Gary Thompson
Systems Engineer

”Pierces the cloud of confusion regarding competing automotive networking standards.”
Sherman Couch
Director of Engineering
Constellation Data Systems, Inc.

To register, click Register button at the top of this page and submit the online form, or contact SAE Customer Service at 1-877-606-7323 (724/776-4970 outside the U.S. and Canada) or at

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