You’ve got a FitBit for your body. Soon, you can have something similar for your car. San Francisco startup Voyomotive has developed Voyo, a telematics system that can tap into your car’s diagnostics system and allow you do a whole host of things previously only available on tricked-out connected cars. We’re most excited about Voyo’s fuel-saving features, like a plug-and-play start/stop system, that can help drivers dramatically cut idling time and drive more efficiently.
How It Works
The Voyo controller connects to a car’s onboard diagnostics port, or OBD-II, which is built into all cars manufactured since 1996 — the same port your mechanic uses to diagnose what’s wrong with your car. The controller can read 100 times more data than similar devices, according to Harald Ekman, CFO of Voyomotive, and it wirelessly sends data to your phone and to the Voyomotive Cloud.
Voyo’s standard features allow drivers to do things like lock and unlock doors and the trunk from their phones; track mileage, fuel use and CO2 emissions; crowdsource driving hazards; and set alerts about behaviors, like speeding or harsh braking and accelerating. Add-on relays that plug into the car’s fuse box add additional functionality, including the EcoStart start/stop system.
Idle No More
Start/stop technology saves fuel by automatically shutting off the engine when a vehicle is stopped and immediately restarting when the driver presses the accelerator or lifts off the brake/clutch. This feature, which can save about 10 percent in fuel use in city driving, is available in nearly all hybrid vehicles but has only recently been introduced into conventional vehicles.
Voyo’s EcoStart will not only lets owners of approximately 100 vehicle models easily add an anti-idling feature, it also addresses the common complaint from drivers that automatic start/stop technology can be disruptive during short stops in stop-and-go traffic. EcoStart allows the driver to control when to shut off the engine with the foot brake; when stopped, the driver presses the brake slightly deeper to engage the stop/start function.
The Voyo app keeps track of all the stops and lets drivers know how much money, gas and CO2 they’re saving. Another feature, Stop@Park, shuts off the engine when the transmission is in park, which also functions as a security feature for people with keyless ignition, preventing potential accidents when people leave engines running unintentionally after parking.
Voyo’s standard trip log feature can also help reduce fuel consumption. “Not only does it track fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, it also specifies how much of it was due to idling,” says Ekman. “We expect this increased awareness will further encourage drivers not only to avoid unnecessary idling, but also unnecessary use of their vehicle in the first place. Hopefully it can also lead to increased car-pooling and use of public transport where and when possible.”
Voyo also allows for a real time monitoring of vehicle health, which can allow owners to pick up on issues and get them fixed before they start affecting fuel consumption, emissions and the life of the vehicle.
Not satisfied with saving fuel only in the passenger car market, Voyomotive has developed a prototype anti-idling system for long-haul drivers who sleep in their trucks and often need to idle overnight to maintain cabin temperature and keep batteries charged. The Voyomotive Idle Control System will monitor key parameters such as cabin temperature or battery levels and will automatically starts or shut down the engine to keep them within appropriate limits. “In this manner, idling is reduced by 90 percent, and drivers get an uninterrupted night sleep all at a fraction of the price of alternative systems,” says Ekman.
Voyomotive is wrapping up a successful Kickstarter campaign, which met its $50,000 goal in three days. Backers will be the first ones to get Voyo in early 2016, and the company will be rolling out its app and cloud-based services as well in 2016. Ekman says Voyomotive will also release an API in 2016 that will allow developers to create their own apps for monitoring driver behavior.
You don’t need to wait for this technology to reduce vehicle idling! Sign our pledge to stop idling at iturnitoff.com.