Heavy Duty Trucking

NOV 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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FuelSmarts gravity, acceleration, aerodynamics, the engine, braking, and rolling resistance. In a challenge mode in a city driving situation, the trainee com- petes against a computer-generated typical driver who jackrabbits off from stoplights and races ahead to the next, wasting fuel all the way. Grenier, however, accelerates and brakes gently and gradually, and tries to maintain his speed in a way as to avoid having to stop at the next light. "You adapt your speed to the traf- fic around you, the lights in front of you," he explains. By the end of the short test route, he's achieved 5.4 mpg compared to the other driver's 2.4 mpg — using nearly 57% less fuel. A summary readout highlights how much fuel was consumed by the various physi- cal factors mentioned. Acceleration, braking and engine performance were all significantly better. When training a driver, the simu- lator program starts with a pre-eval- uation of the driver's eco-driving skills. After training, a final evalua- tion will measure the improvement in fuel consumption. "Say a driver can use these techniques at 10% of stoplights," Grenier says. "At the end of the day that adds up to significant fuel sav- ings for a fleet." ■ Collins points out. "One can train up to four drivers at the same time in a simulation system, which is impossible on the road. That's a serious cut in fuel consumption." Virage says research using its Eco-Drive Pro program found that it can improve driver fuel efficiency between 4-24% after training. "The program is designed for drivers with years, even decades, of experience behind the wheel," explains Virage President Remi Quimper. "We don't tell the drivers what to do, but help them un- derstand the physics behind fuel consumption. Instead of telling you what to do, we make you aware of what your fuel consumption is, and why is your truck or vehicle con- suming fuel. "The simulator is the only way we can see these forces in real time and how they interact with each other." Virage's chief software architect, Danny Grenier, demonstrated the Eco-Drive simulation at the American Trucking Associations' recent Management Conference and Exhibition. He emphasizes that it is "based on the physics of the vehicle, and not someone's opinion of how we save fuel," he said. The simulation graphically il- lustrates the forces acting upon the vehicle that affect its fuel use — several gallons of fuel each hour. Other common habits that reduce fuel economy are frequent or im- proper shifting, too-rapid accelera- tion, too-frequent stops and starts from failing to anticipate traffic flow, and taking circuitous routes. "Fuel-efficient shifting techniques are best taught with a simulator," says Greg Collins, contracts/market- ing manager for Doron Precision Systems. "You won't waste any fuel or grind up any clutches in a simu- lation lab!" Simulators help drivers learn proper shifting techniques with- out the fear of damaging equip- ment, points out Mike Speers, manager of business development for DriveWise Canada. "Proper shifting and acceleration can lead to greater fuel efficiency. We also have an interface that provides a graphic representation of a driver's fuel consumption and correlates it to his/her driving habits. For exam- ple, improper use of eye lead time results in hard braking, and rapid acceleration is often the follow on reaction. Our interface shows the correlation of these behaviors and fuel consumption." In addition to being able to teach fuel-efficient driving techniques in the simulator, doing simulator training saves fuel in and of itself compared to using the real truck, The Virage Eco-Drive program highlights the physical forces working for and against fuel economy during the simulation. 38 HDT • NOVEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com

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