Science and technology: Vehicle engine management: Intelligence test
A computer program that learns how to save fuel
From avoiding jaywalkers to emergency braking to eventually, perhaps, chauffeuring the vehicle itself, it is clear that artificial intelligence (AI) will be an important part of the cars of the future.
But it is not only the driving of them that will benefit.
AI will also permit such cars to use energy more sparingly.
Cars have long had computerized engine-management that responds on the fly to changes in driving conditions.
The introduction of electric power has, however, complicated matters.
Hybrids, which have both a petrol engine and an electric motor run by a battery that is recharged by capturing kineticenergy as the vehicle slows or brakes, need more management than does a petrol engine alone.
Things get even harder with plug-in hybrids, which can be recharged from the mains and have a longer electric-only range.
This is where AI could help, reckon Xuewei Qi, Matthew Barth and their colleagues at the University of California, Riverside.
这是AI的用武之地，来自位于里弗赛德的加州大学的Xuewei Qi、Matthew Barth和他们同事如此认为。
They are developing a system of energy management which uses a piece of AI that can learn from past experience.
Their algorithm works by breaking the trip down into small segments, each of which might be less than a minute long, as the journey progresses.
In each segment the system checks to see if the vehicle has encountered the same driving situations before,
using data ranging from traffic information to the vehicle’s speed, location, time of day, the gradient of the road, the battery’s present state of charge and the engine’s rate of fuel consumption.
If the situation is similar, it employs the same energy-management strategy that it used previously for the next segment of the journey.
For situations that it has not encountered before, the system estimates what the best power control might be and adds the results to its database for future reference.