EcoSpeed will tell you where to go - efficiently
The EcoSpeed app takes into account various factors, such as the number of traffic stops, speed limits and local traffic conditions, to plot the most fuel-efficient route
By now, we should all know that how you drive has a huge influence on fuel economy, but knowing exactly how to drive in certain circumstances to maximize fuel economy isn't always easy. We've looked at various technologies designed to make the task of traveling at the most fuel efficient speed, taking the most fuel-efficient - if not necessarily the shortest - route, and taking into consideration traffic conditions, that little bit easier. Now there's an app for mobile devices that does all these things. Called EcoSpeed, its creators say it could provide fuel savings of as much as 30 percent.
By inputting your current location and intended destination, EcoSpeed will plot the most fuel-efficient route from A to B. This won't necessarily be the shortest route, because the app takes into account factors such as the number of traffic stops, speed limits and local traffic conditions. Because stopping and starting burns more fuel, the app will give priority to routes that are likely provide a more continuous run - which may well result in a quicker journey in the end anyway.
Once you're on the road, the app will make use of your device's GPS to track your speed and give you real-time feedback on the optimal speed you should be traveling at - a slower takeoff from the traffic lights, or maintaining a higher constant speed along a freeway, for example.
EcoSpeed will also allow users to create a custom profile based on the details of your particular vehicle. You'll even be able to input the price of fuel in your area so the app can calculate how much each trip costs.
EcoSpeed is due to be available for free for iPhone and Android devices in March, with a Windows Phone version also in the works. There's also an EcoSpeed API to allow developers to integrate EcoSpeed functionality into a website or mobile app. Until the app's release, there's a demo here that will plot on optimal route for you - or attempt to anyway.
A quick test for a short trip around my neck of the woods returned the most direct route that would take me through three sets of traffic lights on busy roads. Local knowledge gleaned from years of driving has taught me a slight detour of not even 100 meters will see me encountering just one set of traffic lights on much less congested roads and get me to my destination much faster and with less starts and stops. But that's just one test. I'd be interested to hear in the comments how others fare using the demo.
About the Author
Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.
All articles by Darren Quick
So it has a similar function to that of the TomTom HD traffic Live GPS\'s, but does it use returned stats from other current users in the area of your trip or does it do a \"dumb\" calc to lessen stops while keeping you on the more major (and supposedly more flowing) roads? Without knowing current traffic stats, it will most certainly direct you to highways rather than byways (constant 100 - 120km/h vs. stop go up to reasonable urban speeds), not considering that the highway has all the lanes creeping at 10km/h?
Leon Van Rensburg
From the Sentience article:
\"Its control system adjusts vehicle speed, acceleration and deceleration via its adaptive cruise control and regenerative braking. Using GPS and mapping data it takes into account the speed limits, traffic conditions, the road's gradient and features including bends and even speed bumps, as well as less predictable road features including roundabouts, to determine the most efficient possible route.\"
Exactly what I meant, plus automated and you\'d have to have precise details of the road you are travelling on including bumps, pedestrian crossings, bus lanes and schedule, differing traffic light timings, current potholes to avoid AND you need plenty of other people on the road with the same app to get accurate feedback. Hope they have a couple of good shortcuts and algorithms to adjust and update current data.
Leon Van Rensburg
I just tried it and concur. I\'m a hyper-miler, fuel-saving consultant and author of Super Gas Saver Secrets. Using various techniques and meters I worked out the most efficient way across my city. The \'demo\' on the ecospeed website did pretty good but NOT optimal. I find that it took me through many more stoplights and did not take me on the route that generally has less traffic so that I can travel at a consistent speed and use the grade of the road to coast more efficiently. My route generally takes me four minutes less to travel than the ecospeed route and my average is 10 MPG higher.
I liked using the demo, its easy and straight forward to use.
I\'m looking forward to using the full version when it goes live.
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