The Shortest Route Might Not Be Efficient
In a society that is constantly on the move, every commuter is constantly on the lookout for shortcuts and access to highways that will allow for the shortest route from point A to point B. The current ubiquity of GPS tracker systems in personal automobiles and corporate vehicles has been praised by urban commuters and corporate fleet tracking professionals for apparently providing turn-by-turn guidance to their intended destination in the presumed most efficient route possible, normally utilizing interstate highways and main roads when applicable. With gas prices trending upwards, getting where we need to be as fast as possible has traditionally been associated with fuel savings. However, computer science researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are putting that assumption to the test, and the results can equate to big savings for fleet tracking professionals and everyday commuters alike.
Professor Tarek Abdelzaher and a team of PhD student at the University of Illinois have created a novel navigation service to calculate not the shortest or quickest route to their destination, but rather the most fuel-efficient one. While it may seem common sense that the shortest and quickest route would save the most fuel, Prof. Abdelzar is urging the GPS fleet tracking industry to reconsider. For example, a route that utilizes a city’s highways may consume more fuel due to the fact that fuel consumption increases non-linearly with speed, or because the route is actually longer. Additionally, the shortest route that encompasses city streets may be subpar due to metropolitan traffic congestion.
GreenGPS addresses these issues by incorporating a GPS tracking system into a car’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) system. Installed on all cars manufactured since 1996, the OBD-II monitors the health of the vehicle using sensors that measure roughly 100 engine parameters including fuel consumption, engine RPM, coolant temperature, and vehicle speed. Because all vehicle makes and models have different standards regarding these parameters, GreenGPS is designed to tailor routes based on the specific type of vehicle a user has as well as the road conditions. GPS tracking data combined with the OBD-II takes into account street congestion, elevation variability, average speed, and average distance between stops (i.e. stop signs and traffic lights) that all can lead to variability in the amount of fuel consumed.
Early tests have shown an average of 10% reduction in fuel consumption and as more volunteers contribute their vehicles to the project, the system will become even more efficient and reliable. In an age where fleet tracking and personal commuting is a vital component of our society, projects like GreenGPS are helping to make sure we don’t only get to our destinations quickly, but that the health of our environment is maintained as well as possible.
OBDii GPS Tracking Systems
Currently, there are a number of real-time GPS tracking devices that can plug into the OBDii port of a vehicle and provide real-time GPS locational data and diagnostic reporting. One of the most popular devices for consumer applications is the Sync GPS system. For more information on this product please feel free to contact one of our fleet management specialists.