Auto Electronics

Ricardo project estimates 5% to 24% fuel savings from integrated navigation

Ricardo said its Sentience research project indicates that 5-24% fuel savings are possible by integrating Internet-enabled mobile phone communications, GPS, and advanced mapping data with the car's hybrid control system.

The 15-month project included Ricardo, Jaguar-Land Rover, TRL, Ordnance Survey, and Orange Business Services. innovITS, a U.K. Centre of Excellence, provided partial funding.

The goal of the Sentience project was to cost-effectively reduce exhaust emissions and CO2 output by extending the electronic horizon of the vehicle. "Sentience has been a unique partnership between three industries that would not normally work together," said Tom Robinson, Sentience project director, Ricardo. "Through this collaboration, we've proven there is significant potential when onboard vehicle systems are connected with mobile communications and advanced-mapping technologies."

Through an advanced form of adaptive cruise control linked to the vehicle's hybrid powertrain system, a variety of information will calculate and determine an optimal driving strategy. Its control system adjusts vehicle speed, acceleration and deceleration. Using GPS and mapping data, the system takes into account speed limits, traffic conditions, road gradient, bends and even speed bumps, as well as less predictable road features including traffic lights. Data provided by mapping and navigational systems is also used to optimize the recharging strategy of a hybrid's batteries, increasing the potential availability of electric-only mode in urban environments.

The Enhanced Acceleration/Deceleration (EAD) was not implemented on the project vehicle, but Ricardo said it has the necessary links to work with real-time traffic information to update its strategy according to prevailing conditions and areas of congestion. In track-based tests, the EAD strategy has demonstrated fuel savings of between 5% 24% depending on traffic conditions and route topology.

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