Start-stop technology may still be in its infancy, but BMW may be about to take the concept to new heights.
At the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) conference in Palm Desert, California, BMW, along with Siemens, presented a system that transmits data between traffic lights and the vehicle to optimise the engine start-stop function while also enhancing the recovery of brake energy.
In the existing technology, vehicles use sensors to gather information about speed, the environment and the traffic ahead. However, by networking the cars, it is possible to warn vehicles about traffic jams, icy roads and similar issues. This could also boost energy efficiency, fuel consumption and help traffic safety.
At the moment, the start-stop technology switches the engine off as soon as the car is stationary and a driver releases the clutch – the engine restarts when the clutch is depressed. However, in circumstances where there are only a few seconds between stopping and starting it is actually more fuel efficient to let the engine run.
With this new technology, vehicles can send information to the traffic light such as the direction, speed and position of the car, which can then be used to optimise traffic flow and adapt the cycle time of the traffic light. The information could prove particularly important for optimal energy management in electric cars.
Siemens is also said to be working on efficient communication protocols that will allow data to be transmitted to all partners in a surrounding area within a matter of milliseconds.
Paul is a freelance writer with a background in everything from motoring to finance; and holidays to women's undergarments he just writes about them, honestly! He has now sadly crept into his early 30s and seems to have forgotten everything learned at school Still, he's a green car fanatic and isn't that what counts?
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