- Commercial vehicles can modify their driving behavior to suit traffic situation in good time
- Earlier version, the static eHorizon, has already saved more than one billion euros in fuel costs
Frankfurt, 4 July 2018. With the dynamic eHorizon, technology company Continental will in future enable drivers of commercial vehicles to optimize their driving strategy based on real-time data related to traffic conditions. As a result, they will be able to save fuel even in slow-moving traffic – by up to 2% compared with the previous model, the static eHorizon. Testing of the sensor system has already started.
Increasing freight traffic and a growing number of passenger vehicles are giving rise to ever denser traffic on the roads. For the volume of traffic in Germany for example, through which many trans-European freight routes run, forecasts predict a growth by 2030 of just less than 13% in individual traffic and almost 40% in freight traffic compared with 2010*. This intensifies the already high cost pressure on trucking and transportation companies. Ultimately, only a smooth journey is an economical one.
Trucks with Continental’s static eHorizon were able to save an estimated 830 million liters of diesel, the equivalent of over one billion euros, since 2012. In the dynamic version, as shown by comprehensive simulations, it will in future be possible to save up to 2% more fuel compared with the technology currently in production. “The dynamic eHorizon ushers in a new era in the control of vehicle systems because it detects events that take place while the vehicle is on the road,” explains Dr. Michael Ruf, Head of the Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket Business Unit at Continental. “The technology therefore makes a significant contribution to the increased efficiency of commercial vehicles and also provides an important basis for automated driving.”
The dynamic eHorizon is the next generation of the electronic horizon. Continental’s static eHorizon already uses detailed topographic route data and a GPS signal to send information on the road ahead to control units in the vehicle. The control units then automatically adjust the vehicle’s driving style and speed. The dynamic eHorizon now provides even more data on the traffic situation thanks to real-time information. The enhanced system therefore enables additional potential savings to be made and provides more safety, as the driving behavior can be modified to suit the current traffic situation in good time.
The real-time traffic flow data are determined for exactly 250 m and updated every 60 seconds. The accuracy of the system will be further increased in the near future. At the backend, Continental combines the real-time data with route data and sends the information via the mobile wireless network to the control unit of the dynamic eHorizon. In this way vehicles can see ahead for kilometers. The movement data determined for the vehicles ahead are a decisive factor in the detection. The system compares the speed at which a vehicle is travelling with the speed of the vehicles in front. The dynamic eHorizon then relays the traffic data for the next few kilometers to the control units of the drive train. If the system detects slow-moving traffic or congestion, on the driver’s command, it uses predictive algorithms to initiate coasting, braking or downshifting
The driver is informed by a blue flashing light strip in the cab and a symbol in the display that freewheeling is beneficial. The EcoCoasting mode starts as soon as he takes his foot off the gas. The strip illuminates a steady blue when this is activated. The driver takes control of the vehicle once more by pressing the gas or brake pedal. Providing information in good time not only saves fuel, it can also prevent accidents by giving a warning of hazards such as a traffic jam after a bend. In developing the sensor system, Continental is cooperating with HERE Technologies, a global provider of digital mapping and location services, which supplies the map data. The real-time data come from INRIX, one of the leading companies for mobile services for all aspects of the automobile and traffic data analysis.