A small Australian startup has revealed a simple device aimed at teaching drivers the most economical ways to drive their cars.
The term ‘startup’ can sometimes conjure thoughts of some very ambitious people with an implausible idea.
This particular project however has reached its funding goal with 15 days remaining, but the team has continued the crowd funding push to raise as much money as possible.
And the intended product run had sold out, but the team is still taking orders.
The company is GoFar, and the invention is the RAY driver assistance system.
A driver plugs the RAY device into the vehicle’s engine management system diagnostic port and attaches the simple LED indicator to the top of the instrument binnacle.
The LEDs give you an instant indication (red LEDs mean less than ideal) as to how economical your driving is, while data from the transmitter is sent to your mobile phone to create an overall report.
Using an app (Apple only for now, Android in the pipeline), the RAY system can give you a visual representation of your driving style over many kilometres and convert it all into ‘dollars’.
Similar systems already exist in a number of hybrids on the market today, but RAY expands the advantage of the technology to include any vehicle with an OBD2 port. That means just about every car built since 2008, and many that are as old as 2000.
GoFar co-founder and ex-NASA protégé, Danny Adams, said drivers don’t consider the cost associated with driving while they’re in the act of doing it.
“People won’t throw rubbish nor money out their window as they drive, and yet we do that from our exhaust pipe every trip - up to 45kg of carbon every 100km in fact,” Mr Adams said.
“Making things more visible changes that mentality and we find drivers then easily adapt their behaviour. It can have a huge impact.”
GoFar says RAY can improve a driver’s fuel consumption by up to 22 percent.
While gauges and readouts have existed in cars for many years to assist drivers with cutting fuel use, RAY is more of a progressive ‘teacher’ that will up the stakes and challenge you to improve further once you think you’ve mastered the art of hypermiling.
RAY can also predict the most economical times to travel, once the driver has built up a thorough database from previous daily commutes.