VT’s EcoCAR 3 Innovation Could Help Drivers Arrive Efficiently

HEVT_HelpDriversArriveEfficiently_IMG2During Year 1, the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) of Virginia Tech announced EcoRouting as their innovation topic at the EcoCAR 3 Winter Workshop in Austin, TX. Since then, the Innovation sub-team created an algorithm for EcoRouting in Year 2 and has developed plans to improve the system’s ability to find the most energy efficient path.

Unlike the traditional method of a GPS system, an EcoRouting system focuses on minimizing energy consumption and travel time rather than only minimizing travel time. Therefore, the innovation sub-team plans to include external factors such as road grade and speed limits in the algorithm.

Knowledge of these factors helps us to minimize the load on the engine and reduce energy consumption,” said Hrusheekesh Warpe, Electrical Graduate Research Assistant of HEVT.

With the external factors added into the algorithm, the innovation sub-team will be able to make more accurate calculations on the amount of energy used and enhance the EcoRouting module to save more fuel. This means that HEVT will accomplish three main goals: reducing energy consumption and maintaining consumer acceptability through increased fuel savings while implementing innovative technologies. In addition, EcoRouting will meet HEVT’s goal of having an improved fuel economy without making direct powertrain changes. HEVT_HelpDriversArriveEfficiently_IMG1

The best part? “[The external factors] enable us to expand the idea of a GPS system and utilize the GPS technology to save energy,” Warpe said. This means that the EcoRouting navigation system will take on the familiar appearance and functionality of a regular GPS. Drivers will not have to go through the trouble of learning how to utilize the EcoRouting navigation system because the system will be like a regular GPS.