Intermap Technologies has awarded a grant to Auburn University to research ways to save fuel using its NEXTMap 3D GIS road geometries. Initial focus is on development of a predictive cruise controller and automatic gear shifting algorithm to calculate optimal vehicle speed and gear selection to optimize fuel economy and operating costs.
Researcher Wei Huang said, ‘This project is innovative in that the system is tested with commercial 3D road geometry. The influence of road geometry and sensor accuracy on fuel economy will also be investigated. The GPS-based control system will reduce the heavy trucks’ fuel consumption using information from vehicle state estimators, the road geometry, and an optimizing control system.’ The optimizer takes input from the global positioning system (GPS) technology and Intermap’s 3D road geometry and figures when to accelerate, decelerate, or change gears going into and coming out of slopes and curves.
$3 billion saving
Early results show that fuel consumption can be reduced by up to three percent without no increase in travel time. A 3% fuel saving could represent annual US savings of around $3 billion dollars or a billion gallons of diesel. The Auburn study will also look at the tradeoffs between increased travel time and additional fuel savings. The study is also backed by Eaton Corp., supplier of heavy duty transmissions. Other NEXTMap applications include virtual tours, topographic maps and the addition of ‘interactive intelligence’ to airborne and satellite imagery.
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