Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Green GPS Technology Anyone?

Computer scientists at the University of Illinois have developed a global positioning system that not only calculates the shortest and fastest routes, it also projects the most fuel-efficient route.

Built to run on today's internet connected smartphones, the "Green GPS" links to the car's onboard computer using an inexpensive, off-the-shelf wireless adapter.

The car's onboard diagnostics system uploads information about engine performance and fuel efficiency to the phone, which uses the data to compute the greenest route.

In preliminary experiments, researchers were able to show that following the suggestion of Green GPS saves 13 percent more fuel over the fastest route and 6 percent over the shortest. The initial test was conducted on 16 cars of various types that collectively drove for 1,000 miles in Urbana-Champaign, a city of 170,000.

"Currently at least 30 percent of total energy in the United States is spent on cars," said Principal Investigator Tarek Abdelzaher, associate professor of computer science and researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory. "By saving even five percent of that cost, we can save the same amount of total energy spent on the nation's entire information technology infrastructure."

The Green GPS units will be installed on up to 200 fleet vehicles used by the Urbana-Champaign campus, including full-size vans that often carry 1,000 pounds or more in tools and equipment.

Abdelzaher hopes that by collaborating with IBM, the University's Green GPS research will eventually be tested in heavily urban areas with greater stop-and-go traffic.

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