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Is predictive driving the key to fuel savings?

In addition to introducing its new EfficientDynamics family (see article), BMW has also revealed that predictive power management could be a key in an effort to secure fuel savings.

Thanks to navigation based information, its Foresight Assistant and transmission control are able to chart the course of the road and profile a route: including hills and descents, as well as gear selection, speed limits and vehicle deceleration. Indeed even the turning radius is known before a driver reaches a bend in the road.

BMW Concept Active Tourer

This, according to BMW, will allow a vehicle to set up for approaching the road situation based on the mode that is activated – SPORT, COMFORT or ECO PRO.

In the case of SPORT mode, the predictive power management system will use the information to implement a dynamic gearshift strategy: so for example, when a car approaches a bend on a country road, the automatic transmission shifts down and selects the most appropriate gear based on its own initiative, while also using the braking action if necessary. The next bend is then detected as a following bend and the system remains in the optimum gear, helping a higher level of torque to be readied when approaching bends.

Meanwhile, in ECO PRO mode there are a number of features in place that aid a vehicle to fuel savings of up to 25 per cent depending on the driving style. On request, the Foresight Assistance can even provide driving tips that could increase efficiency further.

For example, the Foresight Assistant can provide information on the road ahead at an early stage and can give the driver tips on fuel efficient driving. It takes into account bends in the road, roundabouts, built up areas, motorway exits and speed limits.

It also allows the driver to make the best use of coasting with a coasting mode enabling the engine to be decoupled when operating at speeds of between 31mph and 99mph. So as soon as the driver takes his or her foot away from the accelerator pedal, the vehicle will coast and be unaffected by engine drag torque which reduces deceleration and keeps fuel consumption to a minimum.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green Cars, BMW

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