Satellite navigation systems can be lifesavers when driving
in unfamiliar territory. Be it on isolated country lanes or
in a hectic city centre, SatNav systems can reduce stress
by orders of magnitude by letting you rely on the digital
voice to tell you exactly where you need to turn. And while
SatNav offers you the possibilities of choosing the quickest
route or most direct, what about those who want to take the
most environmentally friendly, which may be neither of the
above. A European research team is developing a product to
do just that. They are attempting to develop SatNav technology
that has the ability to identify the greenest route from point
A to point B. A recent New Scientist article had
a look at the project and discussed its chances for success
with end users and other players in the production chain.
Research for the green SatNav system is headed by Eva Ericsson of the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden. Dr Ericsson was integral to the EU-funded FP5 project ARTEMIS which also sought to develop an improved emission model for road transport across the EU. She has built upon the FP5 project to develop this new system.
navigation systems, such as the EU's Galileo
navigation system may aid in greener transportation.
Dr Ericsson along with colleagues Hanna Larson and Karin Brundell-Freij
have tested their prototype on the streets of Lund, and have
been able to successfully identify routes which pollute less
than standard options, according to New Scientist.
The research team developed different fuel efficiency criteria
for three types of car on 22 streets. Each criterion was based
on such factors as road quality and traffic patterns during
peak and off-peak times. They were able to reduce normal emission
levels by 8 percent using their newly developed technology,
though they suggest real world savings might be closer to 4
percent, New Scientist reports.
Despite impressive fuel economy, the green technology may have
an up-hill battle on its way to market. New Scientist
contacted other members of the production chain for navigation
technology to gauge what the market's response might be
to the product.
Determining the green factor of every possible road may be one
of its most significant obstacles. “Making the measurements
to give every street in the world a fuel consumption factor
will be too expensive,” Liévin Quoidbach at Navteq,
a supplier of digital SatNav maps based in Zaventem, Belgium,
told New Scientist.
The Lund research team remains undeterred. They hope that eventually enough drivers will volunteer their cars as probe cars supplying useful information to operate the SatNav system.