The British engine-test company Ricardo Inc. and a partnership of four other companies have developed technology that integrates navigational systems with hybrid powertrains to maximize fuel efficiency.
The technology can bring fuel savings of 5 to 24 percent, the companies say.
Through global positioning and mapping systems, the device notes upcoming speed limits, traffic conditions, terrain, traffic lights and speed bumps. The vehicle's hybrid control system then adjusts the car's speed, acceleration and deceleration to save fuel.
The vehicle's batteries also can change their recharging patterns to allow for the most electric-only driving in urban environments.
Ricardo worked for 15 months on the project with United Kingdom partners Jaguar Land Rover, the Transport Research Laboratory, the mapping company Ordnance Survey and the communications network company Orange Business Services. Ricardo said it hopes to launch trials of the product on fleet vehicles next year.