Auto Electronics

Intermap teams with Clemson University to improve hybrids fuel efficiency

Intermap Technologies and Clemson University are using Intermap’s 3D road data to use a hybrid vehicle’s gas engine and electric drive more efficiently.

Clemson used Intermap-generated road profiles of Contra Costa County, CA in a simulation designed to investigate the benefits of predictive road-grade information in HEV energy management.

Simulation results revealed a 3% average improvement in fuel economy based on knowledge of future terrain. Steeper grades showed more promising gains. In phase two of the project, expected to be finished in August, Clemson will further quantify and validate phase one results.

Clemson mechanical engineering professor Ardalan Vahidi said the goal of the research is to quantify improvements to the energy management of hybrid vehicles from the use of upcoming road terrain information. The HEV power management strategy is based on the algorithm that determines the split of power generated by the combustion engine and the electric drive. “We have constructed a detailed simulation model of hybrid electric vehicles with parallel configurations and have modified several existing power management strategies to include future terrain information,” he said.

According to Vahidi, optimizing power management depends on extending the driving trajectory beyond the upcoming horizon with Intermap 3D road vectors, enabling the judicious use of electric power. Advance knowledge of an upcoming hill through GPS and 3D road maps, for example, can enable the power management scheme to charge the battery pack in anticipation of larger power demand during an uphill ascent, insuring that the electric drive is fully utilized before traveling downhill in anticipation of the regenerative power available during descent.

“While the concept of enabling power management strategies in vehicles through knowledge of the road ahead is still in its infancy, we expect that many ideas will emerge for the use of geospatial data to increase operating efficiencies,” said Eric DesRoche, senior vice president of Intermap’s Automotive & Consumer Electronics division.

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