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Clemson Researchers to Study Increasing Efficiency of PHEVs Through Integration with IntelliDrive Technology

The IntelliDrive taxonomy. Click to enlarge.

Clemson University researchers were recently awarded a $470,363 National Science Foundation grant to study making plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) more efficient through integration with a Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) (“IntelliDrive”) system.

Such VII systems can act as probes, providing detailed traffic data—such as speed profiles and travel time—of any VII-monitored highway, which can be utilized by infrastructure agents, in addition to receiving data from other sources, to provide real-time trip information to these vehicles. PHEV-VII vehicles utilize these data to predict acceleration profiles in their driving path for use in developing an energy management control strategy.

The objective of the research is to derive a simple and flexible energy management control strategy for PHEVs based on predicted trip information to optimize fuel consumption and the total energy used to minimize the total cost of a trip.

The research team will create a traffic rerouting strategy using a weighted multi-objective cost function which allows utilizing maximum road capacity to minimize the daily total energy requirements, travel times and the daily total cost for this new PHEV vehicle fleet. The project will pursue fundamental research to develop a sound mathematical, computational, and technological strategy to create an energy management framework of PHEVs using predicted trip information provided in real-time.

The project involves:

  • Developing a framework for a comprehensive integration of PHEVs with VII that is part of a flexible in-vehicle energy management strategy, which uses an instantaneous optimization method;

  • Providing a robust and responsive performance of PHEVs through traffic rerouting strategies; and

  • Creating an integrated modeling, simulation and evaluation framework of energy management, traffic operations and data communications.

The project also involves determining the percentage of PHEVs needed to substantially reduce daily fuel consumption as a function of average distance traveled, fuel and electricity and costs.

At the most fundamental level, the investigators say, the impact of this research lies in the design of a PHEV system with simultaneous objectives related to in-vehicle energy management and trip predictability.

We’re doing the study because we anticipate increases in the number of consumers who will drive PHEVs. These electric vehicles would be integrated with a VII system that provides detailed traffic data as a person drives past points outfitted to collect data. With this information we can come up with mathematical models that predict detailed traffic conditions which will be used to optimize fuel consumption and total energy used. It will also minimize the total cost of a trip.

—Mashrur Chowdhury

Researchers will collaborate with Ford for real-world evaluation of the system integration and plan to implement results after the completion of the project.

IntelliDrive. IntelliDrive is an initiative of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) designed to improve traffic operations and safety in the future by linking vehicles to their physical surroundings. IntelliDrive technologies and applications use wireless communications to provide connectivity:

  • with and among vehicles;
  • between vehicles and the roadway infrastructure; and
  • among vehicles, infrastructure, and wireless devices (consumer electronics, such as cell phones and PDAs) that are carried by drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

The IntelliDrive vision is threefold. It seeks to enable vehicles with 360-degree awareness to inform a driver of hazards and situations they can’t see for enhanced safety, ultimately leading to crashless vehicles. It seeks to give complete multi-modal information about a transportation network’s real-time performance to travelers and transportation managers. And it seeks to reduce the environmental impact of a trip by providing real-time information about traffic congestion and other travel conditions to help travelers make more informed decisions. Informed travelers may decide to avoid congestion by taking alternate routes or public transit, or by rescheduling their trip—all of which can reduce the impact of a trip. IntelliDrive applications also can help drivers maintain their vehicles for maximum energy efficiency.



This is a good idea, people hate traffic and congestion wastes time. Traffic lights could count cars and make a real time assessment of traffic that could be networked and made available before you get on the road.

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