Interesting idea of using map data, positioning and real-time information to influence vehicle behaviour. The vehicle’s engine makes better choices about which kind of power source to use because it ‘knows’ what’s coming in terms of gradients, traffic, even traffic light signals. In effect it is navigation-enhanced adaptive cruise control.
Note that the press release says that “fuel savings of between 5 and 24 percent are possible”. Quite a big range, and quite a mild claim. The technology has to be integrated with the hybrid control system, which will make a retro-fit tricky to say the least. So it’s a potential gain of undetermined benefit in a small number of vehicles at some time in the future.
I’m sure the technology is very clear and don’t mean to belittle the work and intelligence that has gone into it. But the effect on emissions is going to be minimal at any time soon.
There is some more detail here, which also introduces the product name “Sentience intelligent advanced hybrid vehicle” – not mentioned in the earlier release. My scepticism is enhanced by the fact that the accompanying picture to some of the stories appears to show a bloody great tank of a 4×4 as the vehicle, and by the fact that one of the three main components to the concept is described as “Enhanced Air-Conditioning (EAC) control in which temperature set-points are adjusted prior to and following temporary stops.”
There is an even more detailed account here – I have uploaded a Ricardo presentation to a Google Site so that I can link to it.