Last year, the Nissan Group allowed SINTEF researchers to carry out direct logging of data from its Leaf cars. "We obtained access to invaluable data, and are now able to see into the very 'brain' of a car and measure such things as how much energy is consumed in propulsion and climate control, and how much is generated during braking," say SINTEF's Astrid Bjorgen Sund and Tomas Levin.
The researchers equip drivers and vehicles with smartphones or Web tablets that enable them to collect valuable data for use in research. "We can identify problems covering larger geographical areas and with sufficient data we can provide a better foundation for the major transport-related decisions which must be made," Bjorgen Sund says. For example, on European Route E39, fuel and energy consumption will be strongly influenced by the design of the road, accounting for its curves, ascents and descents, toll stations and tunnels, and what sort of terrain it passes through.
"Modern vehicles represent a goldmine of information about how cars are used and the infrastructure they utilize," Levin says. "If cars were able to Tweet everything they know, we could tackle many exciting challenges."
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