Researchers from M.I.T. and Princeton have created a network of dashboard-mounted phones that collect data on traffic lights and tell drivers how to avoid inefficient stopping and starting, saving time and fuel. “By reducing the need to idle and accelerate from a standstill, the system saves gas: In tests conducted in Cambridge, Mass., it helped drivers cut fuel consumption by 20 percent.” The system takes advantages of dashboard mounts intended for G.P.S. navigation and uses smartphones to collect data through their cameras.
What’s the Big Idea?
Meeting the nation’s energy goals of reducing dependence on foreign oil while cutting consumer costs increasingly means adapting new technology to make more efficient fuel systems. “Cars are responsible for 28 percent of the energy consumption and 32 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, says Emmanouil Koukoumidis, a visiting researcher at MIT who led the project. ‘If you can save even a small percentage of that, then you can have a large effect on the energy that the U.S. consumes,’ Koukoumidis says.”