Ever wonder how much fuel you can save by avoiding stop-and-go traffic, closing your window, not using air conditioning or coasting toward stops?
Research at the University of California, Riverside’s College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) can give you the answers.
The research field is called eco-driving, which refers to providing drivers with advice and feedback to minimize fuel consumption when driving.
Eco-driving, which has been practiced for years in Europe and is part of the driver education curricula there, is now receiving a lot of attention in the United States because of calls to increase fuel economy standards and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
“This is a really big deal,” said Matthew Barth, the director of CE-CERT and the Yeager Families Professor of Electrical Engineering. “Automobile manufacturers are doing anything possible to make cars more fuel efficient.”
Much of the eco-driving research at UC Riverside and other University of California campuses, including UC Berkeley, focuses on using an on-board eco-driving device, similar to a GPS unit, which provides instantaneous fuel economy feedback under real-world driving conditions.
In a study last year, 20 drivers in the Riverside area used the eco-driving device, known as Eco-Way, for their daily commute for two weeks. Researchers found it improved fuel economy by 6 percent on city streets and 1 percent on highways.
Eco-driving studies in Europe, most of them conducted in pre-planned driving courses, have found fuel economy improvements between 5 and 15 percent.
A survey provided to the Riverside area drivers found that most are willing to adopt eco-driving practices in the near future. On a one to 10 scale, with 10 being the most likely to adopt, the average score from drivers was 7.4. The survey also found 95 percent of drivers would adopt eco-driving strategies if gasoline reaches $4.40 per gallon.
The study was performed by Kanok Boriboonsomin, an assistant research engineer at CE-CERT; Alexander Vu, a junior development engineer at CE-CERT; and Barth.
Those same engineers are now working with researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Davis on a follow-up study in the Bay area, which is funded by the University of California’s Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) Multi-Campus Research Program and Initiative on Sustainable Transportation and ITS Davis’ Honda Endowment for New Mobility Studies.
During the study, participants will use 10 eco-driving devices for two months at a time, said Susan Shaheen, the principal director of the study and co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at UC Berkeley.
Subjects will take a pre-survey at the beginning of their participation and a post-survey at the end. The study will last eight months and collect data on about 30 participants.
Meanwhile, UC researchers are hoping to obtain funding from federal agencies to conduct a larger-scale eco-driving study, which would likely involve hundreds of vehicles, Barth said.
The study in the Bay area is a public-private partnership that includes UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UC Davis and Earthrise Technology, a division of Digisec Group. Earthrise, based in Redwood City, specializes in hardware and software components of eco-driving technology; it subsidized the cost of the devices for the study and programmed them according to the needs of the project.
Earthrise also worked with researchers at CE-CERT at UC Riverside on the study completed last year.
On the suggestion UC Berkeley researchers, in Dec. 2009, Earthrise President Jim Disanto approached the researchers at CE-CERT. Disanto, who had studied about a dozen eco-driving and eco-routing systems developed throughout the world, was impressed by what he saw at UC Riverside.
“They were the only ones with a comprehensive and robust system that actually worked,” Disanto said. “They captured all the relative inputs and developed a robust algorithm which effectively modeled and predicted vehicle fuel consumption and emissions across a wide range of operating conditions.”
The partnership between Earthrise and the University of California employs the most up-to-date technology to advise motorists on how specific driving behaviors impact fuel consumption and emissions. In addition, it interprets the more than 3,000 trouble codes in modern vehicles to provide specific and relevant information to drivers on the health of their vehicle, including, for example, low tire pressure, which can reduce gas mileage.
Disanto said this will help drivers understand today’s complex vehicles in ways that promote eco-driving. He noted that eco-driving technology is already in vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. But, unlike those products, his device isn’t tied to the years-long automobile manufacturing cycle because it is a mobile, after-market unit that can be reprogrammed remotely and adjusted to the latest technological developments.
The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 20,500 students. The campus will open a medical school in 2012 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.
A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.
Sean Nealon | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy