Knowledge is Power
Most of us probably don't realize that over the past few years our cars have turned into computers on wheels. There are tons of sensors everywhere, but most of that information isn't available to the driver. That's a shame, because if it was parsed through a user-intuitive interface, it could provide very useful feedback that could help people drive more efficiently (the Prius LCD effect). Well, this is exactly what Garmin is trying to do with a new add-on cable that can plug into your car's diagnostics communication port and feed that real-time data to your GPS device.
The add-on is called Eco-Route, and it's basically a special cable with a bluetooth transmitter (est. price $149), and it works with the 1xxx series Nuvis GPSes that have Bluetooth. If should be available around the end of 2009/early 2010.
It gathers tons of information about fuel and air intake information, throttle position, combustion mixture, etc, on top of knowing the usual things that a GPS device knows (location, speed, direction, etc).
The twist here is that, in the words of ABG, "the system also includes a driving challenge that users can use to help train themselves to drive more efficiently."
Apparently, you can also see how much you're paying in fuel in real time, and also see your carbon footprint. And from experience, I have no doubt that this kind of feedback (especially $) will make drivers more fuel-efficient.
The system can also detect the route that will save the most gas even if that route isn't the shortest or fastest one (which are the two usual choices you have).
Via Engadget, AutoblogGreen
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