Cloud-Based CO2Reduction in Trucks

The EU-funded “optiTruck” project aims to bring about clear reductions in CO2emissions: IAV is developing the optimization algorithms

The EU has an ambitious target: by 2050, transport-related CO2 emissions should fall by 60 percent compared to 1990. Eleven companies, research institutions and users are aiming to take one large step in this direction with the “optiTruck” project. Ideally, ten individual measures should reduce fuel consumption in trucks with conventional diesel powertrain by up to 20 percent. IAV is developing optimization algorithms for operating the engine and exhaust gas aftertreatment system.

An everyday occurrence repeated countless times throughout Europe: a truck driver gets into his vehicle to take goods from the producer to the consignee. He knows his starting point and his destination, as well as the delivery deadline. Which route should the truck use to protect the climate with minimum CO2 emissions? That’s not so easy to answer, because fuel consumption is influenced not only by the route but also by the vehicle, the current traffic situation and the weather conditions.

This is why the cloud plays a central role in the EU-funded optiTruck project. Before starting the journey, the logistics dispatcher sends important key data such as starting point and destination, load and delivery deadline to the data cloud where the information is used to calculate a choice of alternative routes with the lowest possible CO2emissions. “The calculations include not only the traffic situation but also vehicle parameters such as load and deadweight as well as the truck type in order to calculate the aerodynamic drag and other driving resistances”, explains Oliver Dingel, IAV project manager for optiTruck. “So you don’t always get the same ideal route for all trucks. Instead there’ll be an individual solution for every single truck.”

Cloud and truck in constant contact

The route can differ from day to day: not just on account of the changing traffic situation but also because of weather conditions. A change in wind direction, for example, also alters the CO2emissions on the individual routes. And so the software on the cloud is constantly checking whether the truck is still on the ideal route. If necessary, it sends the driver an update by cellular network. On the other hand, the truck also keeps the cloud up to date by notifying the software of any changes in weight after (partially) unloading goods, among other things. The truck and cloud are therefore in constant contact.

The individual, consumption-optimized target vehicle speed indicated by the cloud serves is input for enhanced predictive cruise control. The vehicle speed is adjusted to the target range, taking account of the traffic situation in the immediate surroundings of the vehicle. In turn, the control signals act as input values for innovative optimization algorithms that predict the power demands for the engine and exhaust aftertreatment system in order to maximize their efficiency.

Optimization algorithms by IAV

This is where the IAV experts come in. “We‘re developing the optimization algorithms and implementing them on a prototype control unit for subsequent installation in a demonstrator vehicle”, reports Dr. Dennis Jünemann, development engineer on the optiTruck project. “When the truck is approaching a gradient, for example, we can delay the actuation of certain consumers such as the cooling system, in view of the free energy that will become available shortly on driving downhill.”

Intelligent predictions also let the exhaust gas aftertreatment system make a contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. If the vehicle is about to start a longer uphill section, it is possible to delay regeneration of the diesel particulate filter (DPF) until that point in time as the exhaust gas temperature will increase under the higher load demand. The optiTruck project even aims to optimize the combustion process in the diesel engine. An algorithm permits advance calculation of SCR catalyst efficiency for adjustment of the engine-out emissions (for example using the EGR rate), so that minimum CO2 emissions can be achieved on the CO2/NOx trade-off curve.

First demonstrator by the end of 2018

The IAV experts are currently working on the system architecture for their solution, followed by the specification for the software and its development with MATLAB/Simulink. Altogether the optiTruck project consists of ten individual measures which under ideal conditions should result altogether in fuel savings of up to 20 percent. A demonstrator truck should be available probably by the end of 2018. At the same time, a simulation is being developed for testing individual functions from mid-2018 to estimate the influence of individual optimization measures.


Partners in the EU-funded optiTruck project alongside IAV include the truck manufacturer Ford Otosan, the Ertico network (coordinator), the universities of Aalborg, Leeds and Okan, the Hellenic Institute of Transport, the ICOOR and ISMB research institutes as well as Eliadis Transport and Condognotto Italia from the user sector. The project optiTruck is part of the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union and runs from September 2016 to August 2019. The EU is contributing 4.5 million euros to the total project costs of 5.3 million euros.

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