Researchers develop smart eco mode for cars to look into the future

From engineering knowledge, driving a car in eco mode reduces fuel consumption, which means it is good for the environment and is easy on the pocket. However, in practice, eco mode tests patience of drivers to result into quickly shut off the function.

Eco mode prevents drivers to accelerate when they really need to, for example, when entering a freeway.

To address this, Delft robot engineers along with Renault have developed the Proactive Eco Mode. The new system enables drivers to attain the intended speed faster based on predictions for the future. The system is successfully demonstrated on French roads.

Earlier, to develop the Proactive Eco Mode, the team of researchers first focused on driver and data collection instead of complex models. A test at the Renault Technocenter in France involved collecting data on the driving behaviour of a motorist.

It required only one round of testing for Proactive Eco Mode to make successful prognosis using a simple algorithm. The system assisted the driver to speed up quickly and easily when it appeared necessary, and at the same time allowed the driver to drive economically. The outcome of the test led Groupe Renault to respond excitedly and expressed interest in installing the patented system in future cars.

The system allows the car to look into the future while the driver is driving. This is because the system makes predictions of when a driver will need lot of power and when not, and the settings of car can be changed if necessary.

Importantly, this does not require complex algorithms: This is simply done by collecting data about the driving behaviour of the driver and other drivers on the road.