GreenRoad cuts accidents and saves fuel

GreenRoad is an interesting example of cloud feedback.  GreenRoad installs a device inside a car, truck or bus to monitor the driving and fuel consumption of the vehicle.  Plugging into the vehicle control systems that are present in most modern vehicles, it records speed, driver actions, and fuel consumption.  It analyzes the steering, braking and acceleration of the driver, and it notices frequent turns or lane changes or sudden acceleration or braking.  GreenRoad in-vehicle feedbackThe device matches the data against a claimed 120 patterns to evaluate fuel efficiency and driver safety.  It displays these quick calculations as simple green/yellow/red lights for the driver.

It also conveys all this information via cell phone data networks to servers in Greenroad’s data center.  Drivers get periodic reports and personalized driving tips.  Using GreenRoad’s portal, the owner of the vehicle (e.g. a bus fleet manager) can see trends in the data as it accumulates.  The information is graphed to show which drivers are the most efficient or the most safe, and the ones that are getting better.  The combination of local feedback to the driver, and cloud feedback to both driver and owner, results in significant improvements in energy efficiency and safety.

GreenRoad cloud feedback display

Like other cloud services, GreenRoad has low up-front costs and a reasonable monthly charge (currently about $30 per-driver per-month).  They claim that savings are realized from the first month of operation in most fleets, both from reduced crash costs and lower fuel bills.  Their overview presentation cites truck fleet savings of $1500-$4000 per truck per year.  Follow-on effects are also significant.  Insurance companies like AAA and Hartford have partnered with GreenRoad to promote the service to increase safety, which may result in lower insurance rates.  GreenRoad also supplies measurements of carbon emission reductions from fuel savings, which its customers frequently advertise.

GreenRoad is in use or being trialed on several truck and bus fleets in the US and Europe, including city bus fleets, the Ryder truck fleet, the UK Ministry of Defense, and some US school bus fleets.   It’s even being trialed with teenage drivers, including insurance rebates for participants.

Side note:  Samuel Chiu and Eric Carr are conducting  a research project at Stanford that hopes to achieve similar functions with an iPhone app. They use the location and motion information from the iPhone to infer the actions of the driver, rather than tapping into the engine directly as Green Road does. No results are published yet.

January 27, 2010 · knovak · No Comments
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