Novel Apps to Boost Fuel Economy

Published Jun-10-13

Two innovative smartphone apps to help drivers save fuel, money and stay safe on the roads. They were developed using open vehicle data that had been released by the US government.

US Government, United States

The Story:

Novel Apps to Boost Fuel Economy In countries across the world, local, regional and national governments continue to release their data to empower citizens, improve public services, and spur innovation and economic growth. Data-sets cover such areas as health, education, law enforcement, transport, and education.

Data Rich World

We live in a data rich world and via numerous crowdsourced and open innovation initiatives smart brains are at work, dreaming up ways to use these resources creatively and effectively. This data is the raw material that is fueling a new wave of innovation that benefits all.

For example, commuters are planning and adjusting their trips on apps based on reams of transport data. Crime maps based on law and order figures are helping local authorities and law enforcement agencies to address criminality in their areas.

One of the countries leading the way in making data more freely available is the United States with its online challenge platform, Through this large project the government and the public work together to address some of the important issues affecting the country.

One of those burning issues is to improve the nation’s fuel economy. Automotive manufacturers are striving to meet targets laid down by the government, but in addition everyday drivers and businesses can help achieve those goals. One way is with tools that leverage open data.

Apps for Vehicles

The Apps for Vehicles challenge sought to spur innovations from vehicle-generated open data to improve safety and fuel efficiency.

Submissions were judged on the potential impact of the concept, creativity and innovation, how open vehicle data has been used, and the idea’s ability to be immediately adopted by consumers.

Winning Solutions

The Grand Prize as selected by the judges was for a concept called DASH that turns any vehicle into a ‘smart car’. It is a smartphone app that connects to any car made after 1996, via a small piece of hardware. DASH quantifies the person’s driving and the performance of the engine. It pulls data from car sensors and ambient data such as weather and traffic, and provides real-time diagnostics and alerts.

This will allow drivers to maximize their miles per gallon as well as provide them with such useful information as carbon emissions and insights into how to reduce running costs. Data collected via driver monitoring can be used to lower insurance premiums. The overall aim is to make driving cleaner, safer, and more affordable. The team behind DASH was awarded $17,000 in prize money.

The Grand Prize Popular Choice selected by public vote was MyCarma a new way to generate fuel economy labels. The app generates a personal fuel economy label on new vehicles, using your driving data. It does this by analyzing your personal drive cycle. Then when you are ready to purchase a new car you feed this information into software models of up to three vehicles you are considering buying.

The app then estimates your personal fuel economy on those vehicles telling you how much you could expect to save on gas. This allows you to purchase the most fuel efficient vehicle that meets your needs. The team behind MyCarma was awarded $17,000 in prize money.

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