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Startups Optimize Potential for Smarter, Greener Driving

With the recent announcement that Google purchased Nest for $3.2 billion, the Twittersphere and various media outlets have been joking about “smart houses” that function by themselves. Yet, other recent, less-publicized announcements indicate that car engines are wisening up in many ways as well.

The French startup SP3H is improving fuel-tank efficiency in modern cars by installing a sensor that detects fuel blends and optimizes engine performance accordingly, according to GigaOm. Reportedly, “many people don’t realize that there is significant variation in the fuel blends and additives at any given gas station.”

The sensor appears to be an omen of things to come for consumers—specifically, that technology previously found on an industrial scale may now be incorporated into more widely-available products. Also in GigaOm, Jeff John Roberts notes:

The new technology, which relies on a $25 sensor, promises to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollution. It also shows how many of the sensors and connected computers that used to found only in industrial operations are making their way into everyday things.

The concept isn’t entirely new. Automotive startups have been incorporating data and analytics for a little while now. According to the MIT Technology Review, startup Automatic uses data to connect to a car’s onboard computer to transmit data regarding driving performance, the cost of individual trips, and engine problem troubleshooting.

These types of technologies can help users conserve gas, spend less and catch car damage at an early stage. While solar energy startups are doing their part to find alternative energy sources, startups like Automatic and SP3H can help users become smarter about using the finite resources that currently power their automobiles. If more products like these hit the market, helping to make driving “greener,” that’s good news for consumers. For most of us, automobile operations are one big mystery; cheaper, smarter technology that directs us toward efficient, safe driving is the next phase of innovation for startups.

Liz Elfman is a writer, editor, and content strategist who tweets @lizelfman.  


Liz Elfman

Liz Elfman is a writer, editor, and content strategist.