Intelligent Cars vs Hybrid Cars ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Intelligent Cars vs Hybrid Cars

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Intelligent Cars vs Hybrid Cars

Intelligent Cars are outfitted with sensors that query other cars on the road for oncoming road conditions. This allows the car to avoid the stop-start that costs so much in fuel. The sensor and network system goes under the name telematics.

Engineers at the University of Melbourne in Australia compared hybrid technology against intelligent cars. The paper is being described at physorg. I found the article to be condescending to hybrids (I mean, why say 'vaunted' hybrid vehicles? Of course, that brings up the question of whether you can be condescending to a type of car, but I'm getting off track.) The study shows that telematics can improve fuel economy.

The researchers calculated hybrid technology would deliver 15 to 25 percent increased fuel economy over a non-converted vehicle. Then they calculated the savings telematics using three different driving cycles (I'm not sure what a driving cycle is), the Australian, the US and the European driving cycle.

The intelligent car was able to match the hybrid for fuel savings when it was able to sense the road ahead for as little as seven seconds when in the Australian driving cycle. For the US or European drive cycles, it took 60 seconds of look-ahead ability to match a hybrid. If the car was able to look ahead 180 seconds, the intelligent car was able to beat out the hybrid by 33 percent.

The obvious point I would make is why not outfit a hybrid with the technology to see what it could do. I'm assuming since the whole point is to avoid stop-start, the savings would not be as dramatic, since full hybrids turn the engine off when coasting to a stop anyways, but you would be able to avoid some of the acceleration cost.

Then there are the other issues surround intelligent cars. Safety aside, my first question would be who is driving the car, you or the computer?

Secondly, hypermilers already use this system by looking ahead and making smarter choices about approaching lights. Why do we need a (probably) very expensive system?

Then there's the question about privacy. If your car is communicating with other vehicles in this network, who's looking after the network.

Then, of course, there are some people who would absolutely refuse to coast up to lights, anyways. How would that affect such a network?

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