Predicting the Future for Advanced Energy Management

by Research and Technology Development Communication

A new generation of buses predicts the immediate future in order to better take advantage of their hybrid motor – Active Green Driving.

Gothenburg / Borås (Sweden), June 21, 2011. Today’s Volvo hybrid driveline lower the fuel consumption with around 30 percent compared with a traditional diesel engine. Using a concept called “Active Green Driving”, buses equipped with sensors, digital maps and GPS will be even more energy efficient and turn public transportation a deeper shade of green. But it is not only the bus that needs to be smart; driver coaching is an essential part of the equation. By combining the high-tech and the human, these Volvo hybrid buses will be able to take full advantage of both electricity and diesel – anticipating various road conditions by gathering data from the surrounding environment will allow for using the right amount of energy for the bus trip from the first stop to the last. An Active Green Driving demonstration vehicle will be shown today at the Final Event of HAVEit, an EU funded project on highly automated driving.

Predicting the Future for Advanced Energy Management

Imagine a hybrid bus that can tell far in advance that the bus is approaching a red-light or a car ahead is slowing down and immediately control the driveline using the new information in order to maximize efficiency. The same bus knows the slopes and curves of its route ahead of time, and plans accordingly.  This is made possible when sources of information from digital maps, laser sensors and a color camera are fused together into an onboard computer with driver display. This hybrid control strategy that is based on predictions of the future driving scenario was developed by Volvo Technology within the three and a half year lasting HAVEit project and is installed into a Volvo 770 Hybrid Bus. Vehicles destined for public transportation are ideal platforms for this type of technology, as they seldom change their trajectories. “The prediction horizon and driver coaching will remarkably contribute to reduce fuel consumption, not only but especially in hybrid buses and trucks, but can also be transferred to conventional busses and trucks as well”, says Achim Beutner, a Volvo Technology specialist in semi-automation for enhanced safety & fuel efficiency and Volvo’s HAVEit project manager, and continues: “In addition, the system is able to increase road safety in daily traffic through infrared communication between different vehicles.”

Hybrid vehicle technology can go much further in improving energy efficiency by storing brake energy created when e.g. going downhill and braking. Automatically switching between these sources with high efficiency due to advanced information is called hybrid driveline control. Beyond the purely automatic control, the driver learns to interpret these data and drive more appropriately – he or she is even given feedback during and at the end of each trip.

Collaboration with other partners
Volvo Technology also provided the prediction horizon which is based on a combination of advanced digital map data and GPS. The color camera  from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) mounted on the front of the bus recognizes red lights that are 5 to 60 meters away (working range) and could detect up to about 130 meters. The camera transmits this information to the sensor fusion computer. The communication between vehicles is realized by an infrared vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication provided by EFKON. Additional vehicle components that are installed in the hybrid bus are two laser scanners by SICK and the Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal (AFFP®) by Continental which here is used to recommend the right speed to the driver.

Environmentally friendly demonstration at the Final Event
At the HAVEit Final Event, the hybrid bus will demonstrate how the prediction horizon is utilized in the energy management for an optimal control strategy of the hybrid drivetrain as well as how the driver coaching works. It will be visualized on a big screen inside the bus and explained to the passengers on a several kilometer long track, including uphill, downhill, speed limits, traffic lights and bus stops.

About HAVEit
The EU funded R&D project HAVEit („Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport“) is set to develop research concepts and technologies for highly automated driving. This will help to reduce the drivers’ workload, prevent accidents, reduce environmental impact and make traffic safer. Launched in February 2008, 17 European partners from the automotive and supply sector as well as from the scientific community collaborate in the project. In total, investments of EUR 28 million were made into HAVEit, EUR 17 million of which were EU grants and EUR 11 million were contributed by the 17 partners, of which EUR 7 million are invested by the automobile industry. The HAVEit consortium consists of vehicle manufacturers, automotive suppliers and scientific institutes from Germany, Sweden, France, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Hungary:
Continental, Volvo Technology AB, Volkswagen AG, EFKON AG, Sick AG, Haldex Brake Products AB, Knowllence, Explinovo GmbH, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), University of Athens, Institute of Communications and Computer Systems (ICCS), University of Applied Sciences Amberg-Weiden, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Universität Stuttgart, Institut für Luftfahrtsysteme, Wuerzburg Institute of Traffic Sciences GmbH, Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (Inria), Institut français des sciences et technologies des transports, de l'aménagement et des réseaux (IFSTTAR).
For further information please visit http://www.haveit-eu.org/.

About Volvo Technology
Volvo Technology is the centre of research and innovation within the Volvo Group and responsible for long term technological development as well as both basic and applied research & development. Volvo Technology is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volvo Group.
The mission of our company is to develop a lead in existing and future technology areas of high importance to the Volvo Group.
Our customers include all Volvo Group companies and Volvo Cars but also some selected suppliers.
We participate successfully in national and international research programmes involving universities, research institutes and other companies in the industry.
Volvo Technology is formally a business unit within the Volvo Group, with ~500 employees and is located in Sweden, France, North America and Asia.

More about Volvo Group: http://www.volvogroup.com/
More about Volvo Technology: http://www.tech.volvo.com/

Contact for journalists:
Achim Beutner
Volvo Technology Corporation
tel.: +46 31 3227470

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