Greener driving with Fiat and Mircosoft - GoGreen

Helping drivers think twice before putting the pedal to the metal, Fiat has developed a new system that gives customers the insight they need to drive in more a sustainable way. ecoDrive processes driving data collected via Blue&Me, an in-car communications device developed by Microsoft. Users plug a standard USB drive into their car's Blue&Me port to gather information on acceleration, deceleration, gear changes and speed throughout the drive.

They then upload the data to their computer, where it's analysed by ecoDrive software to produce relevant tips for driving efficiency, like braking more gently into corners or maintaining a constant speed on straights. Drivers can also share their own tips and ecoDrive experiences using the ecoVille online community. Launched by Fiat in October 2008, ecoDrive is currently only available for the Fiat 500 and Grande Punto, but will work with any model featuring Blue&Me from 2009. Fiat claims the software can cut emissions and fuel consumption by up to 15%, meaning a lower carbon footprint and gas bill for drivers. An obvious improvement would be immediate feedback while a driver is behind the wheel, but we're sure that's in the works ;-)

Fiat and Microsoft's ecoDrive collaboration mirrors the successful partnership between Apple and Nike that runners can use to track and soundtrack their runs, enabling them to review their performance when they're back at their computers. As eco-awareness continues to build (and once energy prices start climbing again), consumers will become increasingly interested in tracking their personal energy use. We're confident that many other embedded eco-metric devices will follow, so if you're in manufacturing—now's the time to start researching and developing. (Related: Visualising energy use.)

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