University project uses an iPhone to increase a car's fuel efficiency

University project uses an iPhone to increase a car's fuel efficiency
By putting their skills and knowledge to good use, a group of smart fellows from MIT and Prinston University has found a clever way to increase a car's fuel efficiency by a substantial amount. How did they do it exactly? Why, by making sure that the car remains idle at traffic lights as little as possible... and by using an iPhone.

In a nutshell, the whole magic is done by placing the iPhone on the car's dashboard so that it can monitor the traffic lights ahead of the car's path with its camera. In the meantime, the car's speed is being updated in real time using the phone's GPS radio. After some quick calculations, the system will inform the driver whether it is best to drive slower in order to avoid coming to a complete stop at the next traffic light and then having to bring the vehicle back in motion.

The project, codenamed SignalGuru, has proven to work like a charm when it was taken for a live test on the streets of Cambridge, MA. Reportedly, the test car's fuel consumption was cut down by the impressive 20%. However, when the guys took the system for a spin on the streets of Singapore, the results were not that good as the traffic lights there do not behave the same way as the ones in the U.S. Still, a few tweaks to the software might be capable of solving the issue, which will likely bring project SignalGuru a step closer to being commercially viable.

If you think that project SignalGuru has the potential to be practically useful to drivers around the world, feel free to drop us a line in the comments section below.

source: MIT via IntoMobile

Related phones

iPhone 4
  • Display 3.5" 640 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Apple A4, Single core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 1420 mAh(7.00h 3G talk time)



1. redman

Posts: 12; Member since: May 14, 2008

Finally, this is exactly what I try and do with my driving habits already since moving from a sedan (with 20+ mpg) to an SUV (with 15 mpg). Here are some other details that also go along with this idea that I incorporate and hopefully are beneficial: - consider the cars that are also approaching the light with me and how they will affect this - if I have a long approach and can coast up to the light I shift into neutral far ahead of coming to a stop (not sure if this reduces the transmission life though) - if I know the light is going to turn green soon (by looking at the cross traffic lights) I try not to even slow down. I know this has its problems... I hope they continue to work on this and bring it out to the public.

2. iKingTrust

Posts: 716; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

I think this is amazing. If it is saving 20% you know this will be a paid app. If it works as well as it seems it could I would pay $4.99 one time.

3. firebo14

Posts: 77; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

iphone's GPS and camera. There are better phones with 1080p video, a GPS, and is faster. You can do the same. Project SignalGuru needs to do this on better smartphones.

8. iKingTrust

Posts: 716; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

your a retard

10. Rawrzellers

Posts: 224; Member since: Aug 22, 2010

You're not your :/ Don't call people a retard when you can't even spell.

13. iKingTrust

Posts: 716; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

The inability to spell does not make me a retard. But your lack of sense makes you developmentally delayed.

9. iKingTrust

Posts: 716; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

and a hater. Why do i need 1080 on a damn phone? Do you people on this site listen to yourselves?

4. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Prinston? You mean princeton!

14. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Yep pa still has not fixed it.


Posts: 701; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

this is very interesting and i find it very usefull specially because i drive a truck that does 16mpg!! atleast this will be a productive way to use the phone to save money, now that all we do with phones is spend money.. i wouldnt use an iphone for this so please try better phone for testing

6. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Lol I've always done this. Almost all traffic lights are timed either in 30 second or 45 second intervals(exept for the small lights on side streets which are weight activated) I thinks its the dumbest thing when I see people zooming by me when I can see the light up ahead is going to be turning red way before anything but a Lambo is able to catch it while its still green lol.

7. M005E unregistered

Baaahhhahahah Oh no don't use an iphone,not an iphone, wake up smell the coffee, the phone you have is of no interest to the most normal humans the artical is the interest not your smart phone prefference

12. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

No knock against the iPhone specifically here, but the key to efficient driving is maximum coasting and minimal braking, and I feel like people should know this already. I mean when I drive, it is a pretty natural action for me to look ahead at the next signal light and gauge the best plan of action (in terms of getting stuck at red lights for a minimal amount of time). I'm not sure what you all are doing while you're driving if you need an app to help you do this.

15. thekalbo

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 10, 2008

Hmmm... concerned people will be checking their phone to see if they should brake and meanwhile will crash into cars waiting at a red light. A better solution to this problem is to have traffic lights synchronized so a driver travelling at a steady (legal) speed gets all green lights.

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