Nice...I'd be in for 9% fuel cost savings
Some intelligent forward thinking researchers over at Hitachi, Xanavi, and Nissan have collected some data on ecological green routing that claims a 9% fuel cost savings on a test route. This technology is still in its infancy, but this is a perfect example of where a car computer can be used to accelerate development and deployment of technology. Implementing ecorouting will require Intense processing on the client or cloud for the complicated routing algorithms that factor in all the newly available data points:
· Traffic & Flow speeds
· Elevation changes and altitude
· Road quality (smooth vs. rough)
· Wind (eventually)
The cloud or development computer can also be used to coach the driver into more efficient acceleration and braking techniques which a lot of hyper milers are already using.
Eventually I imagine this type of data would help local governments prioritize road resurfacings and traffic control timings to help their citizenry become greener.
It seems like one of the key pieces to making this work would be accurate elevation Data. The paper I mentioned above used 50m resolution data from the government. One of the key data providers for elevation data seems to be intermap with 5m horizontal resolution and +/1 1m vertical. Check out their comparison chart to NASA data.
I see some problems with this:
1 - The system would need to take road construction into account as well as traffic conditions. If the "green" route has a lane closed for road construction, that isn't always included in traffic reports, but it could alter the "green-ness" of your route.
In addition, driving your CO2-pumping car through an area where they are melting tar makes the air quality in that area that much worse.
2 - One thing this doesn't seem to address is vehicle condition and/or modifications or even load.
A greener route that may have more elevation changes wouldn't be so green if you're in a little 4cylinder commuto-pod that is low on oil and needs new spark plugs that happens to be loaded down with four fat people.
Conversely, if you hop up the engine, you're generally going to get better fuel economy at freeway speed or better.
3 - The article does not indicate whether the "green-ness" of the alternate route is based on fuel savings or air pollution. I'm certain that masses of people driving through an otherwise pristine nature preserve to save fuel is going to cause some harm to the nature preserve in the form of air pollution from vehicle emissions, fluid leakage, litter and bits of vehicle left behind from the accidents or breakdowns that will happen.
So which is truly "greener" here? Not an easy question to answer.
4 - The damn thing tells you how to drive. I understand that it's all in the name of being "green" and saving fuel (all good things, mind you), but I don't like being told how to drive. Most people don't.
The distraction of having the "green driving coach" telling you how to accelerate more smoothly and coast more is going to distract drivers that are already easily distracted.
Being "Green" has nothing to do with the environment and preservation of live on our planet. It's a move in the direction of socialism, and because it's what the people want, it has become a form of advertising.
I agree with you, save for the socialism part.Being "Green" has nothing to do with the environment and preservation of live on our planet. It's a move in the direction of socialism, and because it's what the people want, it has become a form of advertising.
However this is about a computer system that chooses "green" routing. I'm merely pointing out potential flaws.
I disagree about the green part. Being green is about doing things that are less harmful to the environment than you would normally do. Sounds like your anti-government view is clouding your judgment. Just because the government says its a good idea, doesn't mean it isn't. Have you even looked into what "green" means? Granted it's a buzz word nowadays, but that doesn't make it any less what it really is.
"stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
What is even more interesting is methane, the gas released by livestock, cows in particular, is actually more destructive to the environment per equal unit of gas due to its chemical properties. Google this and you will find if we all stopped eating as much red meat in the US as we do, it would be the equivalent of taking cars off of the road - i am forgetting the exact statistic, so I wont dare throw one out, but it was in the New Yorker a year back and it is a fascinating number.
But one needs to be wary that not all things that are said to be "green" actually reduce emissions. Gas usage as a point of reference i would think is sufficient, but does anyone know of unintended consequences of hypermiling? For example - does hypermiling result in more driving? does it cause early destruction to the engine which would result in more use of metals for the creation of a new engine? Any increased use of some other resources than gas, if any, could negate the benefit to the environment and even your budget.
As far as being told what to do, this is up to the software deveoler. I imagine a developer would make these sugestings based on the drivers wishes. IE: Get me there fast, get me there green, get me there with as few traffic controls as possible (stop signs, lights), get me there with lots of nice views)
How about an incentive for driving green? In exchange for following the green route or green driving style, perhaps you are entered into a contest to receive cash prizes. Or qualify for a rebate or tax reduction. Maybe you get a % of a carbon tax that is applied to others who don't drive green.
There's lots of ways to incentivize people to do things that also result in a social good. You don't even have to be the government to do it. What if Exxon teamed up with Toyota and did an incentive back program or cash prize entry in exchange for selling their gas and cars? Who knows what might happen!
Let me be clear...
I don't think this is a bad idea at all.
I see that it's in its infancy and needs development. I'm stating what I perceive as potential pitfalls to such a system.
The other thing that piques my curiosity is their claim of a 9% fuel savings. How much of that was due to the route that the system chose as "greener" and how much was due to different driving techniques aimed at fuel conservation?
AS a hypothetical example, you take the less eco-friendly route and drive like a madman (or madwoman) with lots of sudden starts and stops and mashing the gas pedal to the floor each time you accelerate, along with keeping revs as high as possible.
When you take the greener route, you drive in a fuel conservation mode, keeping revs lower and using gentle acceleration and coasting to a stop instead.
So why is there fuel savings on the "green" route? Is it because of the smoother roads and less stopping or is it because the driver consciously drove with fuel savings in mind?
Yes, their system is coaching the driver to drive more conservatively, and that plays into it. However, I don't think the route choice is the more significant factor in their fuel conservation, at least not in my hypothetical example.
Frankly, to achieve a 9% fuel savings as they claim, I'd think the driving style would have to be pretty radically different. Nine percent is quite a bit, especially over a long distance, say a couple hundred miles.
There are other potential issues that plays into this that I was discussing with someone else:
A system like this could very well route someone through more rural areas. All in all, this isn't bad, but there are some small communities that could take real issue with increased traffic from drivers using such a system. I don't know what sort of political backlash there could/would be (especially since this isn't even a system in production!), but there certainly could be some.
In addition, increased vehicle traffic in an already fragile ecosystem (protected wetlands, for example) could damage those ecoystems even further from vehicle emissions, fluid leakage, increased noise, temperature differences from hot engines.
Then there are the indirect consequences from vehicle traffic such as litter, pieces of car parts strewn about after the first accident, issues with vehicles and wildlife comingling, and so on. One thoughtless driver flicks a cigarette butt out of a window and starts a fire that takes out dozens or hundreds of acres. We'd all like to believe that someone attempting to drive "eco-friendly" wouldn't do such a thing, but it invariably happens. If not a cigarette butt, then dry grass under a hot exhaust.
I admit that I'm playing the role of devil's advocate here.
Not every technological innovation is the next great thing. I certainly see the potential in something like this, but it also needs to be thought through as much as possible.