Automakers around the world are currently working overtime to make their vehicles more efficient and cleaner through smaller engines, electric systems and lower weights. As this Active Prediction system from Volkswagen subsidiary Scania shows, secondary technological components can also play a role.
The system fuses GPS and cruise control, allowing the vehicle to predict terrain features of the road ahead. The system predicts the topography ahead and automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed as needed. If you’re approaching a downhill, Scania will slow the engine, allowing you to cruise down it. The vehicle will also adjust for ascents.
The Scania system offers the most benefits on undulating terrain, since a flat drive wouldn’t require making adjustments to speed. Volkswagen estimates that it can provide up to a 3 percent fuel savings when compared to a regular cruise control system. The company also says that while the system may add a couple minutes to your commute by slowing you down on certain stretches of road, the extra time shouldn’t be significant for most commuters (though you might want to shut off the system if you’re running late).