Latest in Science

Image credit:

Hybrid cars can save fuel through nature-like algorithms

The software learns to expertly juggle electric and gas power.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
January 29, 2017
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

University of California, Riverside

Plug-in hybrid cars aren't as efficient as they could be. While starting in a pure electric mode is good for relatively short trips, it actually hurts your fuel economy if you have to switch to the gas engine. Science may have a solution, though, and it's taking its cue from nature. University of California, Riverside researchers have developed evolutionary algorithms that learn to combine electric and gas power for maximum fuel economy. The approach mimics natural energy-saving processes to invoke the electric motor throughout the trip, and adapts based on your driving conditions -- it should help whether you're stuck in downtown traffic or cruising effortlessly on the highway.

The algorithms managed energy savings of more than 30 percent, which could be enough to help you avoid a mid-route pit stop. And it might just get better in real life, since UCR envisions connected cars sharing their wisdom with each other to make more informed decisions.

This won't help all that much if you try to avoid using gas whenever possible (such as during a moderately-sized, predictable commute). Also, the team will still have to land partnerships with car companies before you get these savings from the vehicle in your driveway. Even so, it's promising. While electric cars are likely to dominate in the long run, extra-efficient plug-in hybrids could serve as a useful stopgap in the short term.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Moog app brings the classic Model 15 modular synth to the Mac

Moog app brings the classic Model 15 modular synth to the Mac

View
'Hitman 3' players run into launch day server problems

'Hitman 3' players run into launch day server problems

View
New White House website includes a hidden recruitment message for coders | Engadget

New White House website includes a hidden recruitment message for coders | Engadget

View
Samsung Display to make 90Hz OLED screens for laptops

Samsung Display to make 90Hz OLED screens for laptops

View
Mercedes-Benz' EQA crossover is its first sub-$50,000 EV

Mercedes-Benz' EQA crossover is its first sub-$50,000 EV

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr