Several weeks ago, you may have read my previous article on my current 5 favourite Adobe Air apps. Well, I guess it’s not just for personal use after all. Fiat, the car manufacturer, uses an Adobe AIR based application called ‘Eco-Drive’ on their 500 model to assist drivers in becoming more efficient and ‘green’ – this also adds to the 3 Hi-Tech car advances that I wrote about recently too.
What Is It and What Does It Do?
Eco-Drive is an application for your home computer. Basically, it keeps a record of your driving, taking into account your acceleration, braking, average speed and other such things. The objective, to calculate how efficient your driving is. It gives advice to drivers who may lack in certain areas when it comes to driving economically. Perhaps your average speed doesn’t make best use of the fuel. Putting a car through its paces when it is running on worn out tyres, for example, would be noted and you as the driver would be alerted. Ultimately, this should work in everybody’s favour as it would satisfy those who demand more efficient motoring as well as help keeping you in pocket as you save fuel.
How Does It Work?
In the front of the car there is a USB port in which you insert an Eco-Drive device which records and calculates all of your driving data. Then, when you arrive home you stick it into your PC and it produces lovely graphs and charts which are simple enough to interpret for any user. With it being based on AIR, it is also cross platform, so don’t fret Mac or Linux users this isn’t confined to Windows even though, the in-car ‘blue&me’ technology, which is the system behind the USB port, was developed by Microsoft themselves. Again, don’t be worried, I very much doubt that your heads up display will project any blue screens at you. I’m pretty sure it’s safe.
The Eco-Drive system has won many awards in the short time since its introduction, including the prestigious One Show interactive award in 2009, going to the developers of the AIR program AKQA London. Fiat CEO Lorenzo Sistono said…
“Eco-Drive is the first step of a revolution; in fact, for the first time ever, a standard vehicle is connected with a PC and with the Web. It is also an innovative technology, but with an important social and educational objective: this is the first time that an automotive brand has launched an interactive technology that helps its customers improve their style of driving in order to save and to respect the environment.”
As you can tell, he is proud of the system and I’m sure they’ll be looking to improve the system for their next range of cars. And for the sake of our good green Earth, we should all hope that other car manufacturers will follow suit and develop their own Eco-Drive-style systems. However, when it comes down to it, the program itself will not save the earth, nor is it expected to. It’s just pointing us in the right direction and giving us the power to improve the way we drive.