Investigating eco-driving technology to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by using an on-board safety device in diesel commercial vehicles in Hong Kong

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Vehicle emissions have negative impacts on climate change, air quality and human health. The driver is the last major and often overlooked factor that determines vehicle performance. Eco-driving is a relatively low cost and driving-behavior-based method aimed to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and emissions. In this thesis, a safety device was installed on a suite of diesel commercial vehicles to assess its eco-driving capabilities. Because the on-board safety device provided real-time feedback to the driver on their driving performance, actioning of the warnings provided from the safety device could enable not only safety benefits to be achieved but potentially reductions in fuel consumption and emissions as well. Exploring the hypothesis that a safety device can simultaneously facilitate the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions is the principal contribution of this thesis. To investigate the effects of driving behavior on fuel consumption and gaseous emissions of diesel goods vehicles, a portable emissions measurement system was installed on three target vehicles to measure real-driving emissions. In addition, driving and environmental parameters were recorded in the experiments. The on-board safety device installed on the test vehicle was used to record the number of warnings in two separate stages of testing. In the first stage, the number of warnings were recorded while the driver implemented their natural driving style. In the second stage, the number of warnings were recorded but real-time warnings were issued to the driver to improve their driving behavior. The experimental results were evaluated using the Vehicle Specific Power methodology to understand the effects of driving behavior on fuel consumption and gaseous emissions. In this thesis, two studies (three vehicles in total) were conducted to investigate the effects of driving behavior on fuel consumption and emissions of diesel goods vehicles. The first study was conducted to evaluate the effects of an on-board safety device on driving behavior (and fuel consumption and emissions) of two diesel commercial vehicles, including a 5.5 tonnes light goods vehicle and a 16 tonnes medium goods vehicle. In the second study, the effectiveness of the safety device was investigated using a diesel 3.3 tonnes light goods vehicle and 30 drivers with different levels of driving experience were recruited to conduct the on-road emissions experiments. Altogether, the results from this thesis demonstrate that the on-board safety device has a positive impact on fuel consumption and emissions from vehicles through issuing real-time warnings that improve driving behavior.
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