Volvo Tests Eco-Drive Technology with California Partners

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Last week, Volvo Group participated in a demonstration of Eco-Drive technology with a Volvo VNL along two connected freight corridors in Carson, Calif.

Eco-Drive integrates traffic signal data with vehicle dynamics to provide real-time speed recommendations. This mitigates harsh driving maneuvers and, therefore, can reduce the impact of freight movement through disadvantaged communities, explains Volvo.

Volvo Group collaborated with several California stakeholders to demonstrate Eco-Drive technology as part of its involvement in the Zero Emission Drayage Truck Demonstration Project. The project, led by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, is funded by the California Climate Investments program to reduce key criteria pollutants, greenhouse gases and petroleum usage.

The vision of a connected vehicle infrastructure test bed for Eco-Drive brought together two independent projects funded by the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission. This resulted in a partnership between a number of public agencies, including the Port of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Gateway Cities Council of Governments and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, along with private companies.

“We are honored to engage such important and diverse stakeholders to evaluate technologies that have the potential to reduce emissions and traffic noise while making our commutes safer, less stressful and more fuel-efficient,” says Dr. Aravind Kailas, research and innovation manager at Volvo Group. “The strength of this timely California partnership exemplifies the need for private- and public-sector collaboration to make connected vehicle ecosystems a reality.”

More than 80 people, including local elected officials and community representatives, attended the Eco-Drive demo and rode along the “connected” corridors on the Volvo VNL truck, witnessing firsthand the Eco-Drive application in real-world environments.

The event marked the beginning of a 12-month technology assessment and design refinement period for two Eco-Drive concepts: an integrated visual advisory developed jointly by the University of California Riverside Center for Environmental Research and Technology (UCR-CERT) and the Volvo Group, and a smartphone-based audible feedback developed by UCR-CERT. Both Eco-Drive concepts will be evaluated on arterials near the San Pedro Bay ports in Southern California. The concepts aim to reduce emissions and energy use to improve the health and quality of life in communities disproportionately affected by heavy truck traffic.

“Evaluating connected vehicle technologies in real-world environments is an essential part of the development process, even in this early exploration phase. Involving these stakeholders will help collectively identify and overcome the barriers to deploy and scale up the technology,” says Pascal Amar, principal investigator for the project at Volvo Group.

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