Innovation That Matters

Ambient feedback for greener driving

Mobility & Transport

After we featured Fiat’s ecoDrive, one of our spotters alerted us to Honda’s Ecological Drive Assist System. Called Eco Assist for short, the system gives feedback on driving techniques, aiming to help consumers save fuel. Eco Assist also helps improve fuel optimization and battery charging. Recognizing drivers’ love of a good challenge, Honda moves the goalposts by rating them on the eco-friendliness of their driving style. At the end of each journey, the instrument panel displays how well they did. One of the system’s smarter features is that it gives feedback by changing colour in real time, avoiding distracting statistics and numbers. Fuel-saving, smooth acceleration and braking are rewarded with a green glow, and aggressive starts and stops are reprimanded in blue. A positive alternative to the dearth of dry save-the-planet communications, the system’s ambient communication makes its message easier to absorb: helpful for those multi-taskers who spend their journeys making phone calls, revising their routes and flipping through MP3s. Honda hopes the constant form of feedback will turn drivers’ good intentions into subconscious habits. The system will be included in Honda’s American Insight hybrid as of spring 2009. Given that the easiest way to save the planet is to change our behaviour, how could your business put customers in touch with their actions? (Related: Visualizing energy use.) Spotted by: Treehugger via Casey Palmer


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