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Next generation cars tailored for individual drivers

03 January 2017

A data logger developed by Fraunhofer collects data from vehicles to provide insight into how they are used and by who.

The data logger designed by the project group for New Drive Systems NAS in Karlsruhe is useful when developing new hybrid and electric vehicles, and also increases the efficiency of vehicle fleets. (Credit: Fraunhofer ICT)

Researchers from the New Drive Systems NAS project group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT designed the data logger. Once installed in a car, it records all the relevant operational data from journeys made over weeks or months. This helps researchers evaluate, in a usage specific way, how a car is used. This includes characteristics such as driving styles, routes taken and how the driver behaves.

This analysis allows researchers to tailor individual needs to a specific car. “Collecting many such profiles allows us to bracket a large number of users into user groups, and to analyse driving data on a group-by-group basis,” says Tobias Burgert, a scientist at Fraunhofer ICT. “These profiles can produce typical driving cycles that can be used in the development of new cars, for instance as part of a virtual test drive during vehicle simulations.” 

The data logger is flexibly configurable; it’s not restricted to cars with a conventional combustion engine. Researchers can collect data from an electric drive to analyse the level of the battery charge. Data from an external sensor such as a GPS module, an acceleration sensor or a gyro sensor can be recorded and analysed in combination with pure vehicle data.

An international OEM is already using the data logger at the design stage of a hybrid vehicle. Another potential application area is in vehicle fleet management. Analysis can allow operators to understand how vehicles are deployed and enables them to allocate the correct vehicle to the right owner. 

The technology behind the data logger is based on a Raspberry Pi computer, with all the components housed on a single board. This makes purchase affordable for customers. The installation and activation becomes a simple process and can be completed by customers themselves. The device reads vehicle data via an OBD-II interface that is already built in to every vehicle. Bluetooth data transfer between the OBD-II interface and the data logger is accomplished by means of an adapter manufactured by PACE Telematics.


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