Nissan has launched the Nissan Intelligent Driver Project (NIDP): an eight-month study of drivers in the United Kingdom (UK) beginning this month that uses satellite navigation systems, mobile phone technology and advanced vehicle telematics to analyse driving habits and suggest ways of improving fuel economy. Reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 are the two main targets behind the project.
In a similar trial in Japan, drivers reduced fuel usage by an average of 18%, with comparable reductions in CO2 emissions. It led to savings at the pump of an estimated €350 (US$492) per year. If similar improvements can be realized in Europe, the results would make a significant contribution to the development of these features in next-generation Information Technology (IT) & Telematics systems.
Along with real-time fuel economy updates displayed to the driver via the vehicle’s satellite navigation screen, data from every trip is transmitted daily to the Nissan Global Data Center for analysis. This information is then published on a password-protected Web site that can be accessed by the drivers participating in the trial. The site allows drivers to compare their performance to other motorists driving similar vehicles, along with monitoring progress of their individual eco-driving techniques. Drivers are rewarded with Bronze, Silver or Gold status, with the most fuel-efficient drivers awarded the Platinum ranking.
The NIDP trial is the first conducted by Nissan involving Nissan vehicle owners outside Japan. The UK was chosen for the NIDP trial because fuel prices are among the highest in Europe and the country was one of the first to set lower CO2 targets for vehicle emissions. The UK is also Nissan’s largest market in Western Europe and home to a manufacturing plant in Sunderland, a design centre in London and a technical research and development facility in Cranfield.
In addition, Nissan already has in place a number of partnerships with UK organisations to promote zero emission mobility. These include One NorthEast, a Regional Development Agency for the northeast of England, and Green Tomato Cars, a low-emission chauffeur drive company.
Nissan has also briefed the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on the project and at the conclusion of the trial will demonstrate the benefits of telematics as a material contributor to CO2 reductions in real-world driving conditions.
More than 100 Nissan Qashqai and Nissan X-TRAIL owners have been invited to participate in the trial. Their vehicles will be fitted with the special telematics equipment for the eight-month trial. A diverse range of drivers has been selected for the field operational test to ensure that the results are as meaningful as possible.
Data collected will be used in two ways: on-board and off-board. On-board, fuel economy information is relayed to the driver. By analysing the way the car is being driven, advice can be sent to the driver to promote fuel-efficient driving techniques. Off-board analysis is available via the Internet site where the day’s mileage can be evaluated in greater detail and eco-training advice can be given. A driver’s performance can be measured against others driving identical cars, with competition helping encourage participants to improve their ratings – providing further benefits to the environment.