Controlled by robots

February 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, is taking a different approach to extending the battery-life of electric vehicles: rather than trying to design an electric car which emulates a conventional petrol- or diesel-driven vehicle, the ChargeCar project aims to use artificial intelligence to develop battery and charging characteristics around an individual driver’s routine and typical usage.

The team is experimenting with this theory of ‘commute ecology’ with a converted Scion xB, and collecting crowd-sourced data with a view to developing intelligent powertrain control systems and off-the-shelf solutions for converting existing petrol-driven cars to electric propulsion. It reckons that intelligent, adaptive charge controllers could recapture 48% of energy otherwise lost under braking, and that a supercapacitor could reduce load on the batteries by 56%.  Fitting a super-cap also allows for a smaller, cheaper battery pack.

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