Image processing-based methodology for optimizing automotive ignition timing

Tomas Bober, Frank Y. Shih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Modern fuel-injected automobiles use an electronic engine control unit (ECU) that is programmed to ignite the air-fuel mixture in a way that maximizes the torque (TQ) and power output of the engine without compromising its reliability. The ECU achieves this by reading a base value from the primary ignition map (PIM) and then manipulating various other parameters to come up with the final solution. Each input into the final solution comes from a so-called map, which is a 3-D image that represents a set of all the possible values that each parameter can take on. In this paper, we develop a robust methodology using image processing techniques to optimize the PIM for automobiles. The techniques are used to compare, combine, manipulate, and reconstruct various maps. Experiments show that the process yields a gain of about 7 hp and a TQ of 15 ft · lb measured at the wheels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Automotive Engineering


  • Automotive ignition timing
  • Engine control unit (ECU)
  • Image processing


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