Researchers in California have created a computer program for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that learns how to save fuel, improving efficiency by more than 30 percent. Dr Matt Barth discusses his research.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MATT BARTH, DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY AT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE, SAYING: "If you look at plug in hybrid technology today, a lot of it is just simply based on sensors that are on the vehicle itself. So it has an onboard energy management algorithm that uses sensors that kind of figures out what's the best way to use fuel at different times. And so, what we're doing and proposing is not only look at the sensor data on the vehicle, but look at data also outside. So traffic data, traffic signal data and also looking at patterns and how people drive. And using all those new data sets, we're trying to improve those plug in hybrid algorithms to get a little bit better efficiency than what we're getting today." "I would think it's probably three to five years out simply because the data exists. The communication capability exist. It's really just putting more smarts on the vehicle that can take advantage of that information." "I think it's a competitive advantage to have a vehicle that has better fuel economy. And so going beyond just simply the things they can do with the vehicle itself, I think all manufacturers would be interested in using that outside information to improve their vehicles."