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Exeter spearheads engine performance pilot

Technology focuses on changing driver behaviour in a rapid but sustainable way rather than just delivering data for retrospective analysis

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The pilot, which took place in Exeter, saw participants driving improve
The pilot, which took place in Exeter, saw participants driving improve
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The system analyses data and motivates improved performance via gamification incentives

Every participant’s driving improved each week, reducing the time spent in the dangerous ‘red zone’

Car efficiency increased by around 16 per cent, meaning fuel savings and emission reduction

Engine technology and telematics provider, Ashwoods Lightfoot, in partnership with Exeter City Council in the UK, has completed an eight-week trial where the engine performance of 100 vehicles was monitored through connected devices. The aim of the pilot programme was to offer motorists real-time guidance and feedback on the greenest, safest and most efficient driving techniques.

 

Ashwoods is using Gemalto’s Cinterion M2M modules to support its dashboard-mounted Lightfoot device enabling mobile connectivity, communication and tracking between 100 private vehicles and the Lightfoot central server.

 

Based on the technology originally developed to optimise race cars to continuously identify the engine’s ‘sweet spot’, where power and efficiency are optimised, the device is focused on changing driver behaviour in a rapid but sustainable way, rather than just delivering data for retrospective analysis, stated Ashwoods.

 

In addition to guidance it provides, the system analyses data and motivates improved performance via gamification incentives. Once drivers reach the ‘elite driver’ status – or other elite categories – they are eligible to win a host of prizes to reward good driving.

 

“Lightfoot employs cutting edge technology to encourage and reward, better driving, improved fuel efficiency and reductions in CO2 emissions,” said Calum Roke, senior development engineer for Ashwoods.

 

“Seamless wireless connectivity is a key element of the Exeter project, and Gemalto’s M2M modules and high quality support have helped us make an immediate impact on driving performance.”

 

According to Ashwoods following the two-month trial, the Exeter City Council pilot delivered “strong results”, with every participant’s driving improving each week, reducing the average time spent in the dangerous ‘red zone’ (where harsh acceleration and risk are at their highest) by three quarters. Drivers also reported feeling safer, more confident and that they had more fun on the road, the company claimed.

 

Key results from the trial included:

 

  • Car efficiency increased by around 16 per cent, meaning equivalent average savings in fuel consumption and reductions in harmful CO2 emissions
  • Three fifths of drivers achieved ‘elite driver’ status every week (up from just 3 per cent previously) – awarded for hitting target efficiency levels
  • Time spent in the dangerous red zone reduced by over three quarters
  • Over the eight-week period, 100 citizens used the Lightfoot device in their car, with the aim of curbing vehicle emissions, optimising engine efficiency and improving driver safety. The telematics device was deployed under vehicle dashboards, plugging into the car’s engine control unit (ECU).

 

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