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Publication numberWO2008107514 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/FI2008/000037
Publication date12 Sep 2008
Filing date4 Mar 2008
Priority date8 Mar 2007
Publication numberPCT/2008/37, PCT/FI/2008/000037, PCT/FI/2008/00037, PCT/FI/8/000037, PCT/FI/8/00037, PCT/FI2008/000037, PCT/FI2008/00037, PCT/FI2008000037, PCT/FI200800037, PCT/FI8/000037, PCT/FI8/00037, PCT/FI8000037, PCT/FI800037, WO 2008/107514 A1, WO 2008107514 A1, WO 2008107514A1, WO-A1-2008107514, WO2008/107514A1, WO2008107514 A1, WO2008107514A1
InventorsLiedes Matti
ApplicantEc-Tools Oy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
Data collection system and method for vehicles
WO 2008107514 A1
Abstract
The present invention relates to a data collection system and method for vehicles (1a, 1 b, 1c), which has a data collector (4a, 4b, 4c) connected to one or more vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) which is used to collect results from a vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) using one or more instruments that describe the vehicle's (1a, 1 b, 1c) operation, means for converting the results into mathematical values and sending those values to a central processing unit (5), and a central processing unit (5), which provides an analysis of the driving style of a single vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) based on values collected from one or more vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c). The analyses are based on results which consist of one or more vehicle's (1a, 1 b, 1c) positioning data and variables representing driving style.
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
1. Data collection system for vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c), which has a data collector (4a, 4b, 4c) connected to one or more vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c), which data collector is used to collect results from a vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) using one or more instruments (2a, 2a', 2a", 2b, 2b',
2b", 2c, 2c', 2c") that represent the vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) operation, means for converting the results into mathematical values and sending those values to a central processing unit (5), and a central processing unit (5), which provides an analysis of the driving style of a single vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) based on values collected from one or more vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c), where the analyses are based on results which consist of one or more vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) positioning data and variables representing driving style, characterized in that, the analyses have been made by comparing results from different vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) with each other by defining control groups of drivers regarding to vehicle type, driven route and time of the day to make the results comparable with each other when the driven route is defined from the vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) position in the data collector or by using a positioning system elsewhere in the vehicle, the time of the day has been defined using a clock device in the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) to note the time of received values from certain vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) as time information in the central processing unit (5), results received in the course of time has been analyzed statistically by paying regard to positioning data of the vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) and variables representing driving style, and the results of the vehicles has been compared to each other and the results of the vehicle in case take only allowance for the vehicles whose drives have been comparable to the results of the driver in case in terms of driven route, vehicle type and time of the day, which comparison results have been saved to a data base as driver specific and the comparison results have been used to form a personal driving style feedback to the driver of the vehicle in case at certain intervals concerning variables representing driving style from routes driven by this vehicle at certain times, where the feedback also shows driving style results of other comparable drivers of vehicles.
2. The system in claim 1, characterized in that the analyses are additionally based on results which consist of collected information to identify the driver.
3. The system in claim 1 or 2, characterized in that one measuring device describing the vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) operation in the data collector or elsewhere in the vehicle is a positioning system, such as The Global Positioning System (GPS) which can be used to define the location of the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c).
4. The system in one of the claims 1 - 3, characterized in that one or more measuring devices describing the vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) operation is a sensor connected to the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c), and the sensors measure driving speed, engine's speed of rotation and/or other factors that represent engine operation.
5. The system in one of the claims 1 - 4, characterized in that the measuring devices are connected to a program installed in vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) computer (3a, 3b, 3c), such as OBD program, which identifies e.g. malfunctions in the vehicle and notifies about the malfunction using a fault code.
6. The system in claim 5, characterized in that the analysis is based on statistical results received from different vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) in time.
7. The system in some of the claims 1 - 6, characterized in that the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) is a car or a boat.
8. The system in some of the claims 1 - 7, characterized in that the data collector (4a, 4b, 4c) is a mobile station.
9. The system in some of the claims 1 - 8, characterized in that the connection from the data collection unit (4a, 4b, 4c) to the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) is a wire connection or wireless connection, such as Bluetooth or wireless internet connection.
10. The system in some of the claims 1 - 9, characterized in that the analyses made in the central processing unit (5) are based on driving style related results, such as fuel consumption, speed and rotation speed values at different regions, time use and travel related results and vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) loading results.
11. The system in some of the claims 1 - 10, characterized in that it additionally comprises means to make audio/visual notifications to the driver as a driving style feedback about driving style, such as gear to use, change of speed limit and/or idle running.
12. A method for collecting and analyzing information from vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c), into which the results of one or more measuring devices representing the vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) operation are collected with the data collector (4a, 4b, 4c), the results are converted into mathematical values and the values are sent to the central processing unit (5), and the central processing unit processes values collected from one or more vehicles (1a,
1b, 1c) to acquire results related to driving style of a single vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c), characterized in that, the results consist of positioning data and variables representing used driving style of one or more vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) and driving style related analyses are formed from single vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) based on the results, which analyses are made by comparing results from different vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) with each other by defining control groups of drivers regarding to vehicle type, driven route and time of the day to make the results comparable with each other, when the central processing unit collects results in time as time information by noting the time and results received in the course of time are analyzed statistically by paying regard to positioning data of the vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) and variables representing driving style, when the driven route is defined from the vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) location using a positioning system in the data collector or elsewhere in the vehicle, the time of the day has been defined using a clock device in the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) to note the time of received values from certain vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) as time information in the central processing unit (5), the results received in the course of time are analyzed statistically by paying regard to positioning data of the vehicles (1a, 1b, 1c) and variables representing driving style, and the results of the vehicles are compared to each other and the results of the vehicle in case take only allowance for the vehicles whose drives have been comparable to the results of the driver in case in terms of driven route, vehicle type and time of the day, which comparison results have been saved to a data base as driver specific and the comparison results are used to form a personal driving style feedback to the driver of the vehicle in case at certain intervals concerning variables representing driving style from routes driven by this vehicle at certain times, where feedback also shows driving style results of other comparable drivers of vehicles.
13. The method in claim 12, characterized in that the driver of the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) is identified before each drive or during it with the data collector's (4a, 4b, 4c) phone number if it is a mobile station, with Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology or with a PIN code which driver inputs to the data collector (4a, 4b, 4c).
14. The method in some of the claims 12 - 13, characterized in that positioning data is collected to the results using a positioning system, such as The Global Positioning System (GPS) located in the data collector or elsewhere in the vehicle to define the vehicle's location.
15. The method in some of the claims 12 - 14, characterized in that variables representing engines operation, such as driving speed and/or engine's speed of rotation, are collected to the results using one or more sensors connected to the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c).
16. The method in some of the claims 12 - 15, characterized in that malfunctions representing engine's operation are collected to the results using a program installed in the vehicle's (1a, 1b, 1c) computer (3a, 3b, 3c), such as the OBD program, which identifies malfunctions in the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c) and notifies the malfunction using a fault code.
17. The method in some of the claims 12 - 16, characterized in that the analyses are delivered to the driver and presented audio/visually as a driving style feedback in the vehicle (1a, 1b, 1c).
18. The method in some of the claims 12 - 17, characterized in that the driving style analysis pays regard to the driver's history, other drivers' history, age of each car, technical properties of each car, vehicle type, geographic location of the drive from positioning data, character of the drive, season, weekday, time of day and/or exceptional times and dates.
19. The method in some of the claims 12 - 18, characterized in that a technical positioning system, such as The Global Positioning System (GPS), is used to define geographical location, such as a region or a route.
20. The method in claim 15, characterized in that local information, such as information about preferable speed, dangerous places, bad driving conditions, weather conditions and traffic jams, is provided to the data controller (4a, 4b, 4c) based on location defined by the positioning system.
21. The method in some of the claims 12 - 18, characterized in that the route is defined using a starting point, an end point and/or midpoints.
22. The method in some of the claims 12 - 21 , characterized in that the driving style analysis pays regard to stops that take place during the route.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

DATA COLLECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR VEHICLES

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a data collection system and a method for vehicles, which is used to collect information about vehicles' operation. The information is used for analyzing driving style of individual vehicles.

BACKGROUND

Driving a car or transportation in general causes pollution, noise and allergies. Transportation also consumes non-renewable energy sources. This problem is getting worse all the time, because the amount of cars and traffic is continuously rising in cities. Besides, fuel prices are rising continuously. Consumption does not seem to decrease and substitutive forms of energy are not developed fast enough.

That is why best results of ecological driving are achieved when it is based on decreasing the fuel consumption. It leads to less polluted air and it also saves money.

Driving style has essential impact on fuel consumption and the amount of pollution, such as carbon dioxide. The harms of motoring can be reduced by monitoring own driving which might change the amount of a vehicle's pollution by over 10 percent.

As well known, fuel consumption can be monitored from e.g. meters during driving. The amount of stops affects fuel consumption since the starts consume a lot of fuel. So driving in traffic jam should be avoided or at least attention should be paid to driving style during stops and frequent accelerations and brakings should be avoided. The highest gear suitable for current speed should be used, since high RPMs increase fuel consumption. Other factors are destination, time of travel and chosen route. Attitude to driving has an indirect impact on driving style. Furthermore, drivers can save considerable amount of fuel if an engine-block heater is used instead of igniting the cold engine several times a day. When unnecessary accelerations, overtakings and sudden brakings are left out, the driver can as a matter of fact increase driving speed and save driving time. The drivers' impact on fuel consumption is more significant than any other individual factor. Economic driving can in average save 10 percent in fuel consumption. Training changes driving style in a way that saves money and it also reduces global warming caused by carbon dioxide. Ultimately it is clear that more peaceful driving reduces repairing and maintenance intervals and costs.

Economic driving is also safe. Anticipating the traffic and adjusting driving speed to match traffic and weather conditions and avoiding traffic jams will increase safety and make driving easier.

Vehicles have a computer that controls their operation. A vehicle contains multiple programs, which have index values for air/fuel ratio, ignition timing, engine speed, etc. These index values are ideal in different driving situations and they vary between car models and manufacturers.

A vehicle contains sensors, switches and actuators which are located mainly in the engine and which are electrically connected to the vehicle's computer. These devices include e.g. oxygen sensors, coolant temperature sensors, sensors for control valve, fuel injectors, etc. Sensors and switches provide signals to the computer about engine's operation. Actuators operate according to computer commands.

The computer compares values received from the sensors to index values and performs revising operations to get the sensor values match with index values. The computer revises the values by giving commands to other devices.

A vehicle's state and circumstances alter constantly and the computer makes adjustments (especially to ignition timing and to air/fuel ratio) to keep the values correct.

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) is a program in a vehicle which reports engine malfunctions. The OBD program is designed to identify malfunctions in different systems. OBD1 is a program installed in the vehicle's computer which identifies failures in sensors, actuators, switches and wiring of systems related to exhaust fumes. The driver is warned by a warning light in a dashboard if the computer detects a failure in some of these parts or systems. OBD2 is an upgrade to the OBD1 program and it contains more functionality. The most vital objective of the OBD2 program was to standardize protocols used in different vehicles and standardize e.g. fault codes and their descriptions in different vehicles.

The OBD program can be contacted by the so called OBD2 port which is usually located below the dashboard. When a program detects a malfunction, it lights a warning light to warn the driver and reports a fault code, Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC), which can be used to locate the malfunction. A separate diagnostic tool, CAN OBD2 Tool, is required to acquire these codes that are used as a starting-point for repairs.

Connections between different systems of a vehicle are also based on computers. For example, Controller Area Network (CAN) is a digital data transfer bus between different control units. It enables very fast data transfer and it can operate in real-time. Its data transfer rate is currently up to 1 megabit per second and it has an excellent error correction capacity. Almost all electronic systems in modern cars are connected to each other using bus technologies. International Standards Organization (ISO) committee has included the CAN standard in OBD2 specifications and it is specified in ISO standard ISO 11898 (Road vehicles - CAN) and defined in ISO 15765 documents (Road vehicles - Diagnostics on Controller Area Networks (CAN)).

An attempt to change individual driving style can be made by distributing written information e.g. brochures and by newspapers, television, internet or radio. One-sided advertising is not a very efficient way to change behavior and it does not take into account previously mentioned factors about individual driving style. That's why more interactive and more personal methods are being developed.

A method to collect driving style and fuel consumption data is presented in US patent application 2004/0093264. Information is transferred to a server and drivers are compared to each other based on driving time and fuel consumption. WO publication 2005/109273 presents a system in which a single driver can receive feedback based on used speed and accelerations from service providers and information how to decrease fuel consumption.

US patent 6,092,021 presents a system in which a driver is guided in the vehicle to efficient fuel consumption based on different initial information such as speed, RPM, accelerations, brakings, etc.

US patent 6,954,689 has a description of a reading/remote diagnostics system for fault codes. A vehicle's computer collects information about malfunctions and situations and the information is transferred to a central processing unit. In that way the information is easily obtainable by maintenance or repair personnel. A goal for a remote diagnostics system of this type is to connect the supplier of the computer to the customer as a service partner.

US patents 6,879,894 and 5,400,018 present solutions for transferring fault codes to an internet server through OBD2 interface.

In JP patent publications 2005163584 and 2005227141 , a driver receives information about cost-efficient routes. The information aims to inform about safe driving and low fuel consumption by taking weather and traffic conditions into account.

As mentioned above, training changes driving style and in that way reduces fuel consumption. The object of this invention is a data collection system - and a method for vehicles which can be used to train drivers interactively by focusing their attention to their personal driving style and to continuously improve it.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The data collection system and method of the invention intended for vehicles has one or more vehicles connected to a data collector which collects results of the operation of the vehicles from one or more instruments, means for converting the results to mathematical values and for sending those values to a central processing unit, and a central processing unit which provides analysis of driving styles of individual vehicles based on values collected from one or more vehicles. The analyses are based on results which consist of positioning data of one or more vehicles and variables representing the driving style of the vehicles.

Different embodiments of the invention have characteristics defined by the sub claims.

Thus, the analyses are for example based on results, which include information to identify a driver. The driver of the vehicle is identified before each drive or during either by the telephone number of data collector or in case of a mobile phone by Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology or by a PIN code supplied by the driver to the data collector.

One of the instruments representing the operation of the vehicle in the data collector or elsewhere in the vehicle is a positioning system such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) which can be used to determine the location of the vehicle. Other instruments representing vehicles' operation measure e.g. speed, RPM, and/or other factors which represent engine operation. The instruments are connected to a program installed in the vehicle's computer, such as the OBD program, which identifies malfunctions in a vehicle and presents the malfunction as a fault code. In addition, the vehicle preferably comprises a clock device to make a time stamp for received values of certain vehicles and thus the analysis can be based on statistical results received from different vehicles at different times.

Although the invention is primarily meant to be used in cars, the vehicle can also be e.g. a boat.

The data collector is usually a mobile phone, but it can also be a fixed device in a vehicle. Thus, the connection between the data collector and the vehicle is a wire connection or a wireless connection, such as Bluetooth or a wireless internet connection. The analyses made in the central processing unit are based on driving style related results, such as fuel consumption, speed and RPM values at different regions, time usage and travel related results and the vehicle's loading results.

In addition, the system has preferably means for giving audio-visual driving style feedback to the driver about driving style, preferable gear, changes of speed limits and/or idle running.

Usually observed factors in driving style analysis are the driver's history, other drivers' history, age of each car, technical properties of each car, vehicle type, geographic location of the drive from positioning data, character of the drive, season, weekday, time of day and/or exceptional times and dates. The geographic location is dtermined by e.g. defining the area or route where the driving is performed. The route can be defined by a positioning system and/or by defining the route by means of the starting point, end point and/or midpoints.

Analyses are made in one embodiment by comparing results from different vehicles with each other, preferably by defining control groups of drivers based on factors mentioned above.

The data collector can also receive local information based on location defined by the positioning system. This local information includes e.g. information about preferable speed, dangerous places, bad driving conditions, weather conditions and traffic jams.

The driving style analysis preferably pays regard to stops within the selected route.

Technically, the invention works e.g. in the following way; initial information is collected from the car's or other compatible vehicle's OBDII or CAN bus and transferred to the data collector such as to a mobile device (which is e.g. a mobile phone) where the information is used to calculate momentary and long-term driving style information representing safe and cost-efficient driving style and abnormalities in driving style, such as sudden brakings. The system utilises both momentary positioning data and information about current traffic route such as junctions, speed limits, momentary abnormalities in traffic, and long-term information. The data collector preferably uses wireless connection to the actual user interface device, such as to a mobile phone, which has a wireless connection, e.g. a bluetooth compatibility or wire connection. The system transfers calculated information about driving style and abnormalities as well as positioning data, time data and possibly fault codes wirelessly to the central server from the mobile device or other kind of data collector. The server generates e.g. long term analyses and feedback reports about driving style.

This reporting is used in the invention in particular interactively with the driver. It reckons driver's previous driving style pedagogically and/or uses results from other drivers as a pedagogic model.

The driving style analysis maintains a situation wherein a data base includes information from multiple drivers and multiple cars and also information about the same driver's previous drives. A vital part of the system is to reckon the car or a group of technically similar cars, their technical features, geographic location of the drive, season, weekday, time of the day and exceptional times and dates. Geographical positioning is realized as an area which is e.g. some area in a city, or alternatively by means of starting and ending points of the drive. In this way certain regular routes can be identified with direction information. "Direction" also defines conditions of eligibility for travel and time or necessary route points that define what information is included to driving style analysis and comparison.

A position based on normal distribution can be calculated to each driver inside each control group for each driving style meter. Each chosen driving style meter can be weighted with predetermined weight coefficients (the sum of weight coefficients is one), which gives a driving style index inside a specified group. A driver's final driving style index is generated by kilometer performance of group specific driving style meters or alternatively by an average weighted by time performance. Said final driving style index is focused on e.g. a month time period and it represents a general view of a driver's cost- efficient driving style compared to a control group. If there are no other drivers in the control group, it can consist of the driver's old results from previous months (fixed length time periods) or corresponding periods of previous years or chosen periods. Driving style feedback includes also a deviance report that isn't necessarily included in the index, but is presented as complementary information. A basis for choosing driving style meters is an identified positive correlation to kilometer specific fuel consumption inside each subgroup that is related to the comparison. Means for this is a correlation table. The feedback contains an overall evaluation of the driver in form of driving style index and an improvement proposal concerning factors that have increased or decreased the driver's index.

An active "online" driving style signaling device can be used together with the invention. It reports inside a vehicle about positive and negative events and saves those to be used in a long term deviance report, and makes remarks in instructing manner of things that a driver can react to such as changing a gear or changing the vehicle's speed. Initial information for active driving style instructing is collected from several initial information sources available in OBDII (mode 1-9). For example a suitable moment for a gear change can be derived from that information. An example of using static traffic lane information is to use the driving style device to instruct the driver to prepare safely and cost-efficiently to e.g. a coming speed limit change. Engine status information and GPS information are combined in the instructing.

Also a remote reading and analyzing system for OBDII or CAN bus fault codes can be used with the invention. Many vehicles have simultaneously a wireless connection to the central server, where detected fault codes are transferred once they have appeared in the vehicle. The server comprises an interpretation data base for fault codes that translates detected fault code into clear text. The service is available at internet.

The invention offers more versatile and more interactive driving style guidance than prior art solutions. Prior art solutions lack driving style index with comparison ability algorithm and prior art solutions do not include any connection to statistical driving style analysis to be used in interactive interface, just plain guiding inside a vehicle. Also correlation to driving style, season, car mark, positioning data, time of the day and other similar information has not been observed earlier even though these have vital implication when the aim is to make the driver consider feedback reporting justified and to be able to use the feedback report as a basis of financial incentive.

The most important benefit of the system is to be able to support the long-term goal to decrease fuel consumption and make permanent changes. The invention offers means to inspire drivers individually in diverse driving tasks in spite of geographical differences and technical differences between vehicles. The invention enables comparison between a driver and a real control group.

The invention can be successfully used in hauling companies, bus companies and other companies where vehicles are used, and also in e.g. boats and other possible vehicles.

Next, the invention will be next presented in more detail using figures and examples, which are not meant to restrict the invention presented in the patent claims in any way.

FIGURES

Figure 1 is an architecture figure of an environment where the invention is implemented.

Figure 2 presents a flowchart of one embodiment of the invention.

Figures 3-7 present examples of interactive communication between a vehicle and a central processing unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Figure 1 is an architecture figure of an environment where the invention is implemented. Measuring data is collected from vehicles 1a, 1b, 1c from sensors that are connected to the vehicles 1a, 1b, 1c and measure the operation of the vehicles 1a, 1b, 1c, which in this example are assumed to be cars. The sensors in vehicle 1a are marked with reference numbers 2a, 2a', 2a" and the sensors in vehicles 1b and 1c are correspondingly marked with reference numbers 2b, 2b1, 2b" and 2c, 2c1, 2c". Vehicles have generally more sensors, e.g. an oxygen sensor, a coolant temperature sensor and other temperature sensors, a sensor for control valve, a pressure sensor, an RPM sensor, a mass air flow sensor, a gas detector, a condensation point sensor for compressed air, a humidity sensor, etc. There are only three sensors marked for each vehicle 1a, 1b, 1c in figure 1 for sake of clarity.

Sensors 2a, 2a', 2a" and 2b, 2b', 2b" and 2c, 2c', 2c" in vehicles 1a, 1b, 1c (as well as other switches and actuators which are not marked in figure 1) are mainly located in the engine (which also is missing from figure 1) and the sensors are electrically connected to the vehicles' 1a, 1b, 1c computers 3a, 3b, 3c. Programs installed in computers 3a, 3b, 3c handle connections between different actuators and controller devices in vehicle 1a, 1b, 1c to control the operation of these devices. A computer 3a, 3b, 3c controls the operation of the vehicle and multiple programs have been installed in the computers. The programs have settings for e.g. the air/fuel ratio, ignition timing, engine speed, etc. These settings are ideal in different driving situations and they alter in different vehicle marks and models.

Sensors 2a, 2a', 2a" and 2b, 2b', 2b" and 2c, 2c', 2c" and the switches send signals about the engine's operation to a computer. Actuators and controller devices operate by the aid of commands received from the computer.

The computer compares the values given by sensors 2a, 2a', 2a" and 2b, 2b', 2b" and 2c, 2c', 2c" to the settings and makes revising operations to match the values of the sensors 2a, 2a', 2a" and 2b, 2b', 2b" and 2c, 2c', 2c" values to the reference settings of the driving situation in question.

The settings and the control of the different actuators are executed depending on each other why different programs of the computer are connected with so called bus technologies. For example Controller Area Network (CAN) is a digital data transfer bus between the different controller devices.

The computer of the vehicle usually has also a program, which informs about e.g. engine malfunctions, such as the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) program, which is designed to identify failures in different systems.

In the invention, computer 3a, 3b, 3c additionally has a data collector tool, which collects measuring data from sensors 2a, 2a', 2a" and 2b, 2b', 2b" and 2c, 2c', 2c" to provide it to the data collection and processing device 4a, 4b, 4c. This data collector program can utilize data transfer buses that already exist in the vehicle, e.g. CAN. The data collector program transfers measuring data from one or more sensors that measure vehicle operation to the last mentioned device 4a, 4b, 4c, which is connected to the vehicle 1a, 1b, 1c. Measuring data is collected to device 4a, 4b, 4c where data is processed with a data processing program.

The data collector can for example be a mobile phone or other wireless device which has a wireless connection, e.g. a Bluetooth connection, to the computer 3a, 3b, 3c of vehicle 1a, 1b, 1c or alternatively the connection from the data collector 4a, 4b, 4c to the computer 3a, 3b, 3c of vehicle 1a, 1b, 1c can be a fixed wire connection.

The data collector preferably also has a positioning program, for example Global Positioning System (GPS) that the data collector can use to collect information of the geographical location of the vehicle 1a, 1b, 1c. Technically, the GPS receiver can also be installed in the computer 3a, 3b, 3c of the vehicle 1a, 1b, 1c, from which positioning data is transferred to the data collector 4a, 4b, 4c.

The data collector uses a time signal e.g. from the GPS connection or from a separate timing device, which the central processing unit can decode.

A program installed in the data collector 4a, 4b, 4c converts measuring data into values which represent the driving style of a driver. Results related to the driving style are for example fuel consumption, speed and RPM values in different regions, results related to distance and use of time as well as the loading results of the vehicle. The data collector 4a, 4b, 4c sends values to the central processing unit 5 into which the data collector has a wireless connection through e.g. an internet connection. The data collector tool also sends positioning data to the central processing unit about the area where the vehicle has been driven and time data related to that and in some embodiments also possible fault codes. The central processing unit processes collected values to get results related to the driving style of a single vehicle and to earlier results of the vehicle in case and/or to values and positioning data received from other vehicles and uses it to provide driving style feedback to single vehicles to be sent to the data collector 4a, 4b, 4c.

The data collector tool can send feedback to the computer 3a, 3b, 3c, which presents the feedback in the vehicle on a display (or possibly by giving voice feedback) to the driver either as an instant feedback to something the driver has done or by sending feedback about the driving style to the driver at certain intervals while taking changes into account and thus forming a dialogue between the driver and the feedback. Comparison results to earlier drives and other drives have been taken into account in the instant feedback also. If for example a driver has driven a certain distance (the distance has been detected with a positioning system) using a certain RPM level, the feedback can inform the driver that other drivers usually have driven the distance in question with a lower RPM level and consumed less fuel.

Thus, the invention provides an excellent technical solution which helps a driver to improve his/her driving style gradually using a concrete and clear feedback based on measured data.

Figure 2 shows a signal diagram to describe the communication within the invention clearly.

Sensors connected to the vehicles, which in this example are assumed to be cars, measure vehicles operation. Measured data from the sensors is collected to the vehicle's computer. Signal 1 in figure 2 represents this on behalf of one vehicle.

In practice, the computer has a data collector program, which in step 2 in figure 2 collects these measuring results and chooses those to be transferred using signal 3 to the data collection and processing device. The measuring results can be results and/or fault codes from the sensors representing the engine state. The data collector can for example be a mobile phone or other wireless device which has a wireless connection, e.g. Bluetooth connection, to the vehicle's computer or alternatively the connection between the data collector and the vehicle's computer can be a fixed wire connection.

The data collector also receives positioning data (signal 4 in figure 2), for example GPS signals and clock signals about the location of the vehicle at different times.

The data collector program processes received measuring data and positioning data in phase 5 and converts measuring data to values, which represent a driver's driving style. Results related to driving style are for example average fuel consumption, fuel consumption at different speeds and RPM values, results related to stretch and use of time as well as loading results of the vehicle.

A driver can be identified either automatically with the data collector's phone number when it is a mobile phone or for example by a PIN code supplied by the driver to the data collector. Still one alternative worth mentioning is that the driver is identified by Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology.

The data collector uses signal 6 to transfer values to the central processing unit which is in wireless connection with the data collector through e.g. an internet connection. The data collector uses signal 6 (or separate signal) to transfer positioning data to the central processing unit about where the vehicle has been driven and time data related to that.

The central processing unit receives values and positioning data from other vehicles in a similar way that is described in steps 1 - 6. Information received from other vehicles is marked in figure 2 with signal 7, but signal 7 has to be understood to represent separate signals received from other vehicles.

The central processing unit processes collected values to get results related to the driving style of a single vehicle by comparing values from single vehicles to earlier results of the same vehicle which are saved in the database (the database is not separately shown in this figure), where those values are retrieved and/or to values and positioning data received from other vehicles. The central processing unit generates personal feedback from processed values to single vehicles.

The central processing unit send feedback to a vehicle e.g. on regular basis to each vehicle's data collector in signals 9 and 10. Again, signal 9 is sent to the vehicle, which was referred in steps 1 - 6 and signal 10 has to be understood to represent all those feedback signals, which are sent to the data collectors of other vehicles.

The data collector presents feedback visually or with an audio signal or possibly it sends the feedback to the vehicle's computer with signal 11 , which presents the feedback on the vehicle's display in step 12 (or possibly by giving audio feedback) to the driver either as an instant feedback to something the driver has done or by sending feedback about the driving style to the driver at certain intervals.

Comparison results to earlier drives and other drives have been taken into account in the instant feedback also. If for example a driver has driven a certain distance (the distance has been detected with a positioning system) on a certain RPM level, the feedback can inform the driver that other drivers have usually driven the distance in question with a lower RPM level and consumed less fuel.

The feedback can also consist of an announcement to the driver about the driving style, such as about preferable gear, changes of speed limits and/or idle running.

The invention is further described with some operating examples in the following.

EXAMPLE 1 - FORCING DRIVING STYLE FEEDBACK

Vehicles' positioning data and values representing driving style has been collected and combined into results, which in this example are used for forcing driving style feedback, in other words, the feedback technically restricts the driver's driving style. Steps 1 - 6 in figure 3 are similar to those in figure 2. After these steps, the central processing unit retrieves advance information (so called "profile" information) for the driver in case in steps 7 - 8. Let's assume that the driver is elderly and has been allowed to drive inside a certain area and with a certain speed.

In step 9, the central processing unit analyses by means of received values that the driver has driven outside the allowed area using too high speed. The central processing unit sends an announcement as a feedback with signal 10 and presents to the driver in step 11 that the area border and allowed speed have been exceeded.

After this, an instruction is sent to the vehicle's computer with signal 12, which states that the driving speed first shall be lowered to the allowed limit and then gradually be stopped after a specified time or on some other grounds. This is performed so that the computer for example forwards orders to stop or slow down to actuators in the vehicle with the same principles as in a normal drive when the computer controls the vehicle's operation.

When the vehicle is brought back to the allowed area, it works normally again and the speed can be restored to the allowed limit (not illustrated).

In one embodiment, the central processing unit forms the feedback and the forcing restriction with just positioning data and the profile. This can be the case if the only restriction is an area inside which the driver must stay.

The invention can be implemented also to apply for other restrictions than the ones presented in the last example within its inventive idea. Except that the restrictions can consist of a personal speed or area restrictions, the restrictions could be based on time or date (such as winter, rush hour, etc) during which a certain speed or area borders should not be exceeded or the restrictions could be related to weather. The restrictions could also be related to certain places, like traffic circles, dangerous places, schools, kinder gardens, homes for elder people, road construction areas, etc. In this way, the invention provides possibilities to make traffic safer for both the driver and other people. EXAMPLE 2 - WARNING DRIVING STYLE FEEDBACK

Vehicles' positioning data and values representing driving style has been collected and combined into results, which in this example are used for warning driving style feedback, in other words, the feedback is used to warn a driver about forthcoming dangerous places.

Steps 1 - 6 in figure 4 are similar to those in figure 2. After these steps, a central processing unit retrieves area information from the database using steps 7 - 8 based on positioning data. Let's assume that the driver in case is approaching a dangerous crossing, which the central processing unit identifies based on information given by the database and additionally, measuring data from the car's sensors implicates to the central processing unit that the driver has changed the gear down and that the driver is probably going to accelerate when considering based the accelerator pedal's position. In this case, the central processing unit uses signal 10 to send the information to a data collection unit, which in step 11 presents a warning to the driver about an approaching dangerous crossing and a recommendation to slow down. This performance can be enhanced by adding an extra feature, in which the central processing unit searches the database not only for regional data, but also profile data for the driver in case, which might for example tell about the driver's characteristic way to accelerate too much near crossings. Especially in those cases the warning for the driver is justified and it's not necessarily related to the accelerator pedal's position.

Naturally, the reason for a warning can be some other place, like a dangerous curve, a slippery spot, a school, a kinder garden, a home for the elder people, a road construction area or a specified place, etc.

EXAMPLE 3 - EDUCATING DRIVING STYLE FEEDBACK

Vehicles' positioning data and values representing driving style has been collected and combined into results, which in this example are used for long-term driving style feedback in educational manner. In other words, the aim is to train the driver gradually (or quickly) to more cost-efficient and safer driving by regularly (at specified time intervals), or why not even once, presented feedback, which takes into account the driver's driving behavior in certain region in certain period of time.

Steps 1 - 7 in figure 5 are similar to those in figure 2.

The central processing unit processes collected values to get results related to the driving style of a single vehicle by comparing values from individual vehicles to earlier results of the same vehicle which are saved in the database (the database is not separately shown in this figure), where these values are retrieved and/or to values and positioning data received from other vehicles.

Results of other vehicles are used to form groups concerning vehicle type, driven route, date, time and weather to make the results comparable with each other.

Results from other vehicles, related to e.g. fuel consumption, driving speeds and malfunctions in the vehicle, are compared to the vehicle in case and only such results are included in the comparison that are collected from drivers whose drives are comparable with the drives of the vehicle in case, based on e.g. driven route, vehicle type, date and time. The results of the comparison are saved to the data base in a driver specific form (not illustrated).

The comparison results are used to create a personal driving style feedback to the driver of the vehicle in case concerning for example fuel consumption, driving speeds and malfunctions of the car. The feedback shows also driving style results of the drivers of other comparable vehicles. This processing and creating of feedback is illustrated in figure 5 as step 8.

The central processing unit sends feedback to the vehicle, for example regularly to each vehicle's data collection unit using signals 9 and 10. Signal 10 is again sent to the vehicle, which was referred to in steps 1 - 6 and signal 9 has to be understood to represent all those feedback signals, which are sent to the data collection units of other vehicles. The data collector presents driving style feedback visually or with a voice signal (or possibly it sends the feedback to the vehicle's computer to be presented) to the driver in step 11. The driver's driving is monitored and this kind of feedback is sent at specific intervals e.g. once a month.

EXAMPLE 4 - EXAMINING DRIVING STYLE FEEDBACK

Vehicles' positioning data, values representing driving style and appeared engine malfunctions of the vehicles connected to vehicle type has been collected and combined into results, which in this example are examined. The invention makes it possible to receive information about how much engine malfunctions are related to driving style and/or driving conditions and how much to vehicle type.

So steps 1 - 7 in figure 6 are similar to those in figure 2 except that possible notification of engine malfunction is forwarded to the data collector in step 2 for example in a fault code format from the OBD program.

In step 8, the central processing unit processes collected values to get results related to driving style of single vehicles by comparing values from single vehicles to earlier results of the same vehicle which are saved in the database, where those values are retrieved (not illustrated) and received using signal 7, and to values and positioning data received from other vehicles of the same type. Results of other vehicles are used to form groups concerning vehicle type, and if wanted, driven route, time of the day and weather to make the results comparable with each other. Engine malfunctions of other vehicles are compared to the results of the vehicle in case and only results of vehicles of similar type are used in the comparison to make the results comparable to the results of the driver in case. If wanted, also e.g. the driven route, times of the drives and the weather can be taken into account. The results of the comparison are saved to the data base (not illustrated).

The results can be analyzed in terms of how the vehicle type and the drivers' driving style affect on appeared engine malfunctions in the vehicle. If wanted, the comparison results are used to create a personal driving style feedback to the driver of the vehicle in case concerning for example fuel consumption, driving speeds and malfunctions of the car. The feedback shows also driving style results of drivers of other comparable vehicles. This processing and creating of feedback is illustrated in figure 6 as step 8.

The central processing unit sends feedback to the vehicle, for example regularly to each vehicle's data collection unit using signals 9 and 10. Signal 10 is again sent to the vehicle, which was referred to in steps 1 - 6 and signal 9 has to be understood to represent all those feedback signals, which are sent to the data collection units of other vehicles.

The data collector presents driving style feedback visually or with a voice signal (or possibly sends the feedback to the vehicle's computer to be presented) to driver in step 11. The driver's driving is monitored and this kind of feedback is sent at specific intervals e.g. once a month.

EXAMPLE 5 - EDUCATING DRIVING STYLE FEEDBACK Il

Vehicles' positioning data and values representing driving style has been collected and combined into results, which in this example are used for long-term driving style feedback in educational manner. In other words, the aim is to train the driver gradually to more cost- efficient and safer driving by regularly (at specified time intervals) presenting feedback, which takes into account the driver's driving behavior in a certain region within a certain period of time. This is a more precise example of example 3. The feedback of this example could be used in long-term by an employer as grounds for a rightful incentive assuming that the employees use a vehicle in their work tasks.

Steps 1 - 7 in figure 7 are similar to those in figure 2.

Signal 7 is used to collect values corresponding to values in signal 6 to the central processing unit from other vehicles. So each value that arrives through signal 7 to the central processing unit from data collection unit of some vehicle is noted in step 8.

- values during a specified route (such as fuel consumption, driving speed, fault codes) - route (such as positioning data in GPS signal values)

- date (when the route has been driven)

- time of the day (when the route has been driven, using a clock device in the data collector and a GPS signal)

- driver (identified)

In step 8, results (values) from vehicles are used to form groups concerning vehicle type, driven route, date, time and weather to make the results comparable with each other.

Results from vehicles, concerning e.g. fuel consumption, driving speeds and malfunctions in the vehicle, are compared to the vehicle in case and such results are included in the comparison that are collected from drivers whose drives are comparable with the drives of the vehicle in case based on e.g. driven route, vehicle type, date and time. The results of the comparison are saved to the data base in a driver specific form (not illustrated).

In step 8, the comparison results are further used to create a personal driving style feedback to the driver of the vehicle in case concerning for example fuel consumption, driving speeds and malfunctions in the car from routes driven with this car at certain times and dates. The feedback shows also driving style results of drivers of other comparable vehicles.

The central processing unit sends feedback to a vehicle, for example regularly to each vehicle's data collection unit using signals 9 and 10. Signal 10 is again sent to the vehicle, which was referred to in steps 1 - 6 and signal 9 has to be understood to represent all those feedback signals, which are sent to the data collection units of other vehicles.

The data collector presents driving style feedback visually or with a voice signal (or possibly it sends the feedback to the vehicle's computer to be presented) to the driver in step 11. The driver's driving is monitored and this kind of feedback is sent at specific intervals e.g. once a month. The feedback can be presented to the driver as a separate report by mail or e-mail (not illustrated).

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Classifications
International ClassificationG07C5/08
Cooperative ClassificationY02T10/84, B60K2350/1092, G07C5/085, G07C5/008
European ClassificationG07C5/00T, G07C5/08R2
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