Eco-driving not only leads to a reduction in fuel consumption and a reduction in CO2 emissions but is also easy on household budgets and leads to safe driving.
This is the development story of Pioneer's car navigation systems powerfully supporting eco-driving.
Car Electronics Engineering Division: Yasushi, Ohsawa, Fukuda, Hirose
Carefully examining the new eco-drive support functions
Pioneer received a double awarding of the "Green IT AWARD 2010" and "Green Purchasing Award 2010" with the Cyber Navi AVIC-VH9990 series (2010) as fuel consumption improvement effect by "Eco-Route Search" * which the first one in the industry was evaluated, wasn't it? And this technology also mounted on existing products has earned a favorable reputation.
Capable of estimating the fuel consumption of all candidate routes according to each vehicle prior to driving to enable setting of a route of low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
(Yasushi) Fuel consumption is influenced not only by road congestion conditions but also by types or operations of cars. Although prior research was performed at the time of development, unfortunately, there was no theory compatible to the various types of vehicles and road conditions and there where only demonstration reports concerning specific vehicles.
We therefore prepared a theoretical model and by verifying it, we were able to become the first ones in Japan to equip the search function in a commercial navigation unit. The minimum fuel consumption route is searched.
The basis for this Eco-Route Search was the fuel consumption estimation technology.
Green IT Award 2010
Green Purchasing Award 2010
(Yasushi) The fuel consumption estimation technology initially started as an informal project and was not highly valued much inside the company. On the other hand, a carmaker outside the company appraised it as being exceptional and this lead to valued and then to adoption within the company.
(Fukuda) This fuel consumption estimation technology became the basis for the later Eco-Route Search function. However, fuel consumption estimation differs according to size and engine displacement of a vehicle and various vehicles must be used to set the respective fuel consumption parameters*. The precision of the fuel consumption estimation changes in accordance with the fuel consumption parameters and an enormous amount of work was required to collect and analyze the data. The verification work also took a great deal of time. This was the most difficult stage of the project.
The "information" required for a computer, equipped in a navigation system, to perform calculations for fuel consumption estimation.
A driving experiment
(Fukuda) Experiments were performed on 20 or more vehicle types, from light vehicles to large engine displacement vehicles, from sport cars to minivans. Fuel consumption data was actually acquired for a gross distance of no less than 10,000km in the verification tests. In order to increase the accuracy of the fuel consumption parameters, verification tests, in other words, repetition of "driving and measurement, driving and measurement" were required.
Measurements were repeated over and over
(Fukuda) As there are various vehicles, the way of driving also varies depending on the driver. However, any experience to reproduce such various driving conditions on public roads results in not only violation of the Road Traffic Law, but also creates dangerous situations and inconveniences neighbors in terms of safety and noise. In order to perform sudden acceleration, sudden deceleration, high-speed driving based on assumptions about overseas highways, etc., driving experiments were also performed by using high speed oval track Japan Automobile Research Institute.
Test course at the JARI Shirosato Test Center, where high-speed driving is possible
(Ohsawa) In order to obtain correct data with no influence such as differences in season and time zone, and the vehicle model using actual public roads other than a test course, we prepared three vehicles of the same type and drove them simultaneously on different routes from the same starting point to the same destination to check the prediction accuracy of gasoline consumption estimation, the correctness of order of eco-friendliness, and the order of the required time. These tests were performed on several courses over different conditions.
In order to confirm the heat of midsummer, the cold of midwinter, and, influence by operation of the car's air-conditioner, we performed driving in midsummer with the air conditioning turned off, the heater on, and all windows completely closed as well as driving in midwinter with the heater off. This was quite harsh. (Laugh)
However, we still are quite young, and have physical strength, spirit and confidence. As all focused on the missions that we wish to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels to contribute to preservation of the environment, and satisfy customers, we felt that the "heat and cold" and that "less then comfortable experience" blew off somewhere. These are now good memories.
Through such verification experiments, we calculated the optimal fuel consumption parameters and were able to equip the Eco-route Search and fuel consumption estimation function of high accuracy. When we were finished, we felt like: "We did it!"
Detailed meetings on test driving
I found out that a slightly far away supermarket was doing sales for 50 yen less and so I thought of riding out there. However, I found out in advance that it takes 200 yen of fuel to get there and that the cost of the fuel used is less if I shopped at a closer location. There are two gas stations run by the same chain in the same direction from my home. One of them is 1 yen cheaper per liter. So when I wondered which gas station to go to and checked the fuel cost to the destination, I found out that the gas station that is 1 yen cheaper takes up a higher fuel cost. This is when I realized the true convenience of this function.
It is exciting that waste which was overlooked in the past cannot be found. It seems as though we will continue to enjoy driving. It is indeed ecology, economy and enjoy!
Example of 6 route list display