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Study shows connected-car ecodrive system can increase fuel savings 27% without increasing inter-vehicle spacing

A study by researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Virginia Tech, and Chosun University (S. Korea) demonstrated that a proposed connected-car ecodrive system can significantly improve vehicle fuel efficiency without significantly increasing the inter-vehicle spacing. Specifically, fuel savings in the range of 27% were achieved with an average vehicle spacing of 47 m along a study section of an Interstate highway.

Their paper is published in the Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board.

The research developed and quantified the fuel savings associated with an ecodrive system that combines an eco-cruise control algorithm and state-of-the-art car-following models.

The proposed system fits within the ecolane concept, which integrates dedicated highway lanes that are optimized to reduce fuel consumption and improve air quality. In the ecolanes, drivers are required to operate the vehicle with recommended or variable speeds to reduce transportation energy consumption and improve vehicle mobility.

The system makes use of topographic information provided from a high-resolution map, the spacing between the subject and lead vehicle that can be obtained from a radar system or some form of vehicle-to-vehicle communication, a desired (or target) vehicle speed, a minimum and maximum desired speed, and a cruise control spacing threshold.

The study also demonstrated that regular vehicles can benefit significantly by following a lead ecodrive vehicle.


  • Kyoungho Ahn, Hesham A. Rakha, Sangjun Park (2013) “Ecodrive Application: Algorithmic Development and Preliminary Testing,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board doi: 10.3141/2341-01


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