Masternaut building real world OEM fuel economy database

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Masternaut, provider of fleet telematics solutions, is developing a database of real world OEM fuel economy figures, to provide fleets with accurate fuel usage per vehicle to assist with whole life cost management.

Masternaut has patented technology which provides real-time access to the full set of floating car data on vehicle CANbus networks. The floating car data (covering fuel usage, odometer, diagnostic, and other useful data) is transmitted to Masternaut's secure hosted platform where it is processed, aggregated, and analysed to create the most accurate source of real world data sets available on the market. The patented technology uses a non-intrusive capacitive coupling technique which guarantees 'read-only' access to the vehicle, ensuring that the vehicle cannot be hacked.

This follows a report by Transport & Environment, which found a widening gap between test and real world fuel economy and emission readings. The report found that the gap is quickly becoming a chasm, increasing from 8% in 2001 to 40% in 2014. Without action, it warns, the gap will grow to nearly 50% by 2020.

Steve Towe, Chief Commercial Officer and UK Managing Director, Masternaut, commented, "There is a misconception in the market that OEM fuel economy figures are indicative of real-life, real world driving. However this is not the case as those figures are officially provided for comparison only. There is a wealth of information out there, so part of our technology investment is to provide a single authoritative source for fleets and drivers to build a true picture for each and every vehicle. We're investing heavily in our technology in order to bring transparency to fleet operators, help OEMs to understand actual end-user use and help leasing companies work with their customers to understanding whole life costs."

Fuel economy figures published by OEMs are based on test conditions and very rarely reflect real world end-user use. The fuel consumption testing scheme, run by the VCA (an Executive Agency of the Department of Transport), is run in two parts. The urban cycle is carried out in a laboratory at 20°C to 30°C on a rolling road from a cold start (where the engine has not run for several hours). The cycle consists of a series of accelerations, steady speeds, decelerations and idling. The maximum speed is 31 mph, the average speed 12 mph, and the distance covered is 2.5 miles (4 km).

The extra-urban cycle is conducted immediately following the urban cycle and consists of roughly half steady-speed driving with the remainder being accelerations, decelerations, and some idling. The maximum speed is 75 mph, the average speed is 39 mph, and the distance covered is 4.3 miles. In total, the test covers 6.8 miles.

Alex Rothwell, Chief Technology Officer, Masternaut, commented, "Government standard tests are based on a very limited set of scenarios and don't take into account real world usage patterns for vehicle loading, terrain, journeys and more. Our technology enables our product to collect real-time data direct from the engine management system and aggregate it by vehicle type and usage to give a much better view of vehicle performance across these categories.

"Another major concern of fleet managers and users is the security of telematics data, covering various problems observed with OBD port-based solutions. Masternaut's technology avoids these problems with a patented method of 'read-only' interfacing with vehicle systems, which guarantees that the vehicle's operations cannot be interrupted."

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