High-tech workshop uses gaming and tracking software to make drivers greener
'I Drive Green' combines computer-based training and real-time feedback via Skype to make drivers more eco-conscious.
Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 03:02 PM
Photo: Jon Snyder/Wired.com
Drivers who want to ramp up their efficiency and lower their carbon footprint can turn to a new, high-tech workshop that combines classroom training reminiscent of a video game with real-time feedback while on the road. And, the best part is, it’s free.
Autopia got to sit in on a couple sessions of the ‘I Drive Green’ workshop, created by retired auto racer Jean Paul Libert and rookie Indycar driver Nelson Philippe, and says that not only is the program successful, it’s fun, too.
Drivers participating in the workshop take a seat in a comfy car seat situated in front of a wraparound three-panel simulator complete with a steering wheel, break pedal and gas pedal. The simulator teaches driving techniques that curb inefficiencies like breaking too heavily or accelerating too hard.
Once the simulator part of the workshop is over, students take to the roads, first driving solo and then making the trip again accompanied by a driving instructor who helps them make greener driving choices.
“During the two workshops we watched, every driver burned less gas, produced less CO2 and covered the course in less time. In other words, the tips make them quicker,” Autopia reported.
Once participants are ready to head out on their own after taking the class, a PDA-like device called the EcoGyser tracks their location and speed using a software app and GPS. When they’re done driving, they simply download the data from the device and I Drive Green displays it as a Google overlay, showing the drivers where they can improve. They can even get feedback from I Drive Green instructors via Skype.
I Drive Green will debut at the Specialty Equipment Market Association on Nov. 3. The EcoGyser is expected to be offered as a dedicated iPhone app by next year.