University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom



Greener Cars on the Horizon


UC Riverside Helps Audi Make Greener Cars

Innovations Allow Drivers to Choose the Most Environmentally Responsible Route

(November 11, 2008)

Matt Barth, director of College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology, drives an environmentally correct route in New York City in November, 2008 as part of the project.Enlarge

Matt Barth, director of College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology, drives an environmentally correct route in New York City in November, 2008 as part of the project.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- Right now, drivers can ask Google maps to direct them to their destination, and highlight pizza places along the way. UC Riverside has partnered with Audi on a $650,000 project (along with UC Berkeley) that will allow drivers to determine the greenest route possible.

The idea is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by giving drivers more specific information about the most environmentally responsible route for their particular car in current traffic conditions.

The project, "Clean Air, a Viable Planet," was announced Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. A year later, in November of 2008, Barth was driving an environmentally correct route in New York City.

Any vehicle, regardless of its fuel economy rating, will use less fuel getting from A to B if it can cruise at a constant speed rather than if it is constantly speeding up, slowing down, and idling in traffic. The technology exists today to be able to compute multiple routes to a destination depending on whether the driver wishes to optimize for time, distance, or fuel consumption. However drivers do not typically have enough information to choose the most environmentally responsible route.

"Our goal is to be part of a real solution to the constant dilemma commuters face: What is the best way to get there?" said Matt Barth, professor of electrical engineering and director of the College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT). "Sometimes the best way to get there is the one that causes the least damage to the planet."

Audi will fund several university projects to create the system they will use in their cars:

UC Riverside will partner with UC Berkeley to combine up-to-date map attributes such as road grade and speed limit with reliable real time measures of traffic congestion to provide the most environmentally friendly navigation route options.

In other parts of the project, UC Berkeley will work on technology that allows the car engine to know the road ahead and adjust transmission and temperature settings to fit the situation. Stanford University will aim to create micro electro-mechanical systems that can turn the car's own vibration into a clean energy source for on board sensors.

In 1992, the UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering established the Center for Environmental Research & Technology (CE-CERT) as a model for partnerships among industry, government, and academia. CE-CERT's goals were to become a recognized leader in environmental education, a collaborator with industry and government to improve the technical basis for regulations and policy, a creative source of new technology, and a contributor to a better understanding of the environment.
Audi's clean air initiative will involve technology from UC Riverside, UC Berkeley and Stanford University.Enlarge

Audi's clean air initiative will involve technology from UC Riverside, UC Berkeley and Stanford University.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links

Footer