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Ford demonstrating cloud-based technology to optimize plug-in powertrain efficiency at ITS World Congress

Ford Motor Company is publicly demonstrating smart electrification technology that uses cloud-based computing and data to optimize a plug-in hybrid’s powertrain efficiency at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Orlando.

At the Google I/O conference in May, Ford introduced its research and innovation into using the cloud to predict driver behavior in order to optimize vehicle control systems and improve vehicle performance attributes such as fuel or hybrid-electric efficiency. (Earlier post.)

In September, Ford introduced the Evos Concept was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Evos Concept explores the potential for connecting a vehicle to the cloud in order to tailor the driving experience based on variables such as personal tastes and moods of the driver. (Earlier post.)

In the example featured at the ITS World Congress, researchers will show how a prototype Escape Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) could use a combination of cloud-based and proprietary technology to learn when to switch from being gasoline-powered to all-electric upon entering a lower emissions zone. Cities such as London, Berlin and Stockholm already have such zones.

Ryan McGee, technical expert, Vehicle Controls Architecture and Algorithm Design, Ford Research and Innovation, who is presenting at the conference, said if a vehicle was able to predict exactly when it might be entering such a zone, it could optimize itself to comply with regulations and at the same time optimize energy usage over the total distance of the route by switching the engine to all-electric mode at specific times.

Work is now under way to study the feasibility of incorporating variables such as driver style and habits into the optimization process, so Ford can further enhance vehicle control systems and allow car and driver to work together to maximize energy efficiency.



There are almost as many drivers behaviors as we have non-behaved fun drivers and the number may be growing. Could future vehicles fully consider that many extreme variables?


You could do all that with a current GPS and some extra software.
The car could learn the driver's style and modify the electric use accordingly.
If the guy is an easy driver, the electric power will last longer, and so can be used for larger suburban regions (as well as the urban ones).
If the guy has a lead foot, the electric power will not last so long and so should be kept for denser urban regions.

You do not need the cloud to do that, "just" a GPS system and some machine learning code.

It would work well for commuters with predictable drives, less well for salesmen who would go all over the place, more or less at random.


Yes, but mahonj, these people are trying to make a whiz-bang application out of stuff we already have. There is a proliferation of over-engineered "solutions" for non-existent problems (ahem AGW.) Controlling human behaviors is the work of overpaid social scientists and psych majors trying to justify their existence.

On the other hand we have people WHO ARE ACTUALLY BUILDING GREEN CARS!! Wonder why GREEN CAR Congress doesn't report on them?


It looks like the trick of using "mountain mode" in the Volt to store battery energy for the city segments is going to be automated so everyone can use it.


I think you're right EP...

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