Can IoT technology make driving greener, safer and cheaper?

Unfortunately, global warming and air pollution are problems that won’t go away soon. The global temperature is continuing to go up – it’s become so bad even the Pope has got involved, and global levels of air pollution are rising quickly. The leading cause of the world’s air pollution, and a significant contributor to global warming is transport, with vehicles emitting millions of pounds of hazardous pollutants into the air each year. It’s clear we all need to take significant steps to address the problem.

However, we should also bear in mind pollution is not the only problem when it comes to transport: driving can be dangerous as well – every year, between 20 and 50 million people suffer road traffic injuries globally, costing nations an estimated three to five percent of their gross national product annually. Fuel prices have also continued to rise meaning driving costs more, particularly for businesses with large fleets of road vehicles. Clearly, we need to improve efficiency in order to counteract these rises in price.

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So, how can we make transport (driving road vehicles in particular) more environmentally friendly, safer, and more efficient/cheaper? There are many ways – but one way that’s picking up speed at the moment in the UK is the use of M2M telematics. The city of Exeter in the UK has embraced connected-car telematics and gamification incentives to help drivers improve safety and efficiency. Already, the environmental and financial effects are clear to see.

An initiative from Exeter City Council called Exeter City Futures has been utilizing the latest M2M technology from Ashwoods Lightfoot, a leading engine technology and telematics provider, for a pilot program to curb vehicle emissions, optimize engine efficiency, and improve driver safety. The program involved 100 citizens using the innovative Lightfoot device in their cars for eight weeks. The telematics device was easily deployed under the dashboards of users’ vehicles, plugging into the car’s Engine Control Unit (ECU). From there, it continuously monitored engine performance to identify the “sweet spot” where power and efficiency were optimized. The device then provided real time feedback via a dashboard display and audio alerts that prompted drivers to take action to ensure peak performance, efficiency, and driver safety.

lightfoot

After the two-month trial, significant improvements were visible. Every single driver had driven better almost every single week since the units were installed and activated and, on average, they reduced the time they spent in the dangerous red zone – where harsh acceleration and risk are at their highest – by over three quarters. In addition, overall efficiency rose by around 16%, meaning equivalent average savings in fuel consumption and reductions in harmful CO2 emissions.

In a short space of time, the participants from Exeter could all see how a small, relatively simple device (which uses a Gemalto Cinterion® M2M wireless module for transmitting the engine data securely) can make a big difference with regard to safety, the environment and efficiency. If the entire planet took this much care when driving, we’d see a significant reduction in global air pollution and CO2 emissions; it’d be an important step in the struggle to keep global warming under control.

To discover more, make sure you read the full case study for the trial. And to learn more about how Lightfoot is improving transportation, watch the video case study at: http://www.gemalto.com/m2m and http://www.lightfoot.co.uk.

If you have any questions, make sure you tweet to us @GemaltoM2M or leave a comment in the section below.

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