Driver improvement start-up FuelClinic (http://www.fuelclinic.com) finished second in the IBM-sponsored Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) “Congestion Challenge” from a starting field of 116 companies spanning 20 countries.
This global contest was developed by IBM and ITS to identify novel new technologies that will help create “smarter cities” and decrease traffic congestion, improve road safety, reduce environmental impact, while strengthening commerce.
“I’m very happy with the amount of support FuelClinic received during this competition,” said Michael Bragg, creator of FuelClinic. “We were one of the smallest companies in the competition, yet we were able to compete successfully enough to place in the top two. The amount of support we received shows that drivers are interested in becoming active participants in their own fuel efficiency and safety.”
While a second-place finish in this competition didn’t come with a cash prize, “taking second” has come with a number of silver linings, according to Bragg.
One such silver lining is a partnership with Believe Sustainability in Brazil, which is interested in using FuelClinic to help reduce carbon emissions from transportation in Sao Paulo, one of the world’s largest and heavily populated cities.
“We are researching more sustainable ways to reduce the pressure of individual transport in the chaotic traffic in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro,” said Lincoln Paiva, CEO of Believe Sustainability and Organizer of Improve Air Project Sustainable Mobility (http://projetomelhorar.com.br/). “FuelClinic would provide a system that can help change the concept people have regarding the use of the car.”
Other opportunities made available through the ITS competition include a potential partnership with IBM, sponsors of the challenge.
In a video released by IBM after the awards, Gerry Mooney, General Manager Fiscal Stimulus & Economic Recovery, spoke about IBM’s commitment to helping solve global transportation problems and their intention to support some of the innovative ideas that made it into the final round of the challenge.
“We’re very excited,” said Bragg. “With our training partners at EcoDrive$mart (http://www.ecodrivesmart.com) and developing partnerships with Believe Sustainability and others, we are creating a ‘dream team’ of expert talent and technology. Our second-generation driver improvement system will raise the bar even higher. We’re getting it done and making a real difference.”
FuelClinic is a driver-improvement system that helps create safer, smarter, more efficient drivers. In consumer applications this system helps families save money on fuel, reduce CO2 emissions, find deficiencies in inexperienced or young drivers, and helps motorists become generally safer and more professional drivers.
In fleet applications the system helps business owners and fleet managers train and maintain better driving habits with employees, reduce fuel expenses, track and control CO2 emissions, improve and reinforce safety initiatives, and help to decrease accident rates, injuries, and insurance expenses.
There is a working prototype of the first-generation system online (http://www.fuelclinic.com) where motorists have on-average improved their fuel efficiency 6% and have collectively saved over $34,000 while cutting more than 227,000 lbs of CO2 emissions.
The second-generation system tailored to the needs of professional drivers and fleet managers is currently in development and incorporates data loggers, comprehensive online reporting, and certified driver training to round out the entire “Driver Performance Improvement Cycle” concept.