The Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering’s Center for Environmental Research & Technology, or CE-CERT, has received the Institutional Lead Award from the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society in recognition of its leadership in developing environmental technologies to improve transportation, air quality, and energy efficiency.
Most intelligent transportation systems, or ITS, research projects seek to improve safety and mobility. At CE-CERT, however, researchers work to improve the environmental footprint and energy consumption of intelligent transportation systems. CE-CERT helped pioneer this eco-friendly ITS, or ECO-ITS, research area over two decades ago, as part of the National Automated Highway System Consortium’s efforts to estimate the environmental impacts of automated vehicle platooning.
Since then, CE-CERT researchers have developed more sophisticated transportation, energy, and emission models to better estimate the impacts of ITS and automation. In addition, CE-CERT’s ECO-ITS research program has been aimed at developing and evaluating innovative applications based on the use of advanced technologies, targeted at reducing energy and environmental impacts of vehicles and transportation systems.
This ECO-ITS research program has gained attention from a variety of academic institutions, industries, and from various government agencies. CE-CERT’s transportation research group was very active in the development of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis, or AERIS, program. AERIS examined how ITS technology in the form of connected vehicles, such as wireless communications between vehicles and infrastructure, can save energy and reduce vehicle emissions.
Highlights of CE-CERT’s ECO-ITS research areas include:
- Eco-Routing Navigation Systems aim to determine the minimum fuel consumption and emissions route between vehicle trip origins and destinations. CE-CERT’s research is one of the first published in this area (2007) and now has a U.S. patent. In addition to eco-routing, CE-CERT is now developing low-exposure emissions routing algorithms that aim to reduce the impacts of harmful emissions in the community.
- Dynamic Eco-Driving Systems provide real-time advice to drivers, so they can adjust their driving actions to save fuel and reduce emissions. The developed algorithms use real-time traffic and road grade data, and 10%-20% potential fuel savings have been demonstrated and documented. CE-CERT is now transitioning this technology to automated vehicles, achieving even greater fuel consumption and emissions reductions.
- Eco-Traffic Signal Systems allow vehicles and traffic lights to communicate in order to minimize fuel and emissions as vehicles travel down a signalized corridor.
- Sustainable Freight Systems are aimed at reducing energy consumption and emissions in the heavy-duty truck sector. CE-CERT has applied the eco-routing navigation systems, dynamic eco-driving systems, and eco-traffic signal systems to heavy-duty trucks in both simulation and real-world environments, demonstrating fuel savings potential of 10%-20%. Recently, working with several government and industry partners, CE-CERT played a key role in instrumenting the first connected freight corridors in the U.S. and demonstrating a connected vehicle application called “Eco-Drive” on the corridors.
- Real-Time Energy Management Systems take advantage of traffic information and road grade to optimize how energy is used onboard hybrid electric vehicles. Evaluation with real-world driving cycles has shown a range of 10%-16% fuel savings with the proposed strategies.