The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $30 million in funding for help solve some of the nation’s most pressing energy challenges by accelerating the development of novel energy technologies. NEXT-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated on-Road vehicles (NEXTCAR) seeks to develop new technologies that decrease energy consumption of future vehicles through the use of connectivity and automation.
The NEXTCAR program is providing up to $30 million in funding to create new control technologies that reduce the energy consumption of future vehicles by using connectivity and vehicle automation. The program seeks transformative technological solutions that will enable at least a 20 percent reduction in the energy consumption of future Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs), compared to vehicles without these technologies.
The ARPA-E NEXT-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated on-Road-vehicles (NEXTCAR) Program seeks to fund the development of new and emerging vehicle dynamic and powertrain (VD&PT) control technologies that can reduce the energy consumption of future vehicles through the use of connectivity and vehicle automation.
Potential vehicle energy improvement technologies may include, but are not limited to, advanced technologies and concepts relating to full vehicle dynamic control, powertrain control, improved vehicle and powertrain operation through the automation of vehicle dynamics control functions, and improved control and optimization facilitated by connectivity. These improvements will include the reduction of the fuel and/or energy consumed by future individual vehicles undergoing either human operation or semi- or fully-automated operation, either in isolation or in cooperation with other vehicles.
Vehicle connectivity and automated operation hold significant promise to improve safety by reducing vehicle accidents and traffic fatalities in the US, but the full energy efficiency improvements enabled by the adoption of these technologies have not yet been tapped. Reducing the energy intensity of automotive transportation aligns directly with the ARPA-E mission areas of reducing energy imports, improving the efficiency of energy usage and reducing energy-related emissions, while promoting US innovation and competitiveness.
The ARPA-E NEXTCAR Program seeks transformative technological solutions that will enable at least an additional 20% reduction in the energy consumption of future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), compared to vehicles without these VD&PT control technologies. For the purposes of this Program, the technologies to be developed will be required to demonstrate a 20% reduction in energy consumption when implemented on a 2016 baseline vehicle.
The technologies contemplated in this Program include solutions that consider powertrain optimization as a part of the vehicle fuel or energy efficiency improvements of future CAVs. Solutions that only take into account vehicle-level longitudinal (or vehicle dynamic) control or driver behavior optimization without regard for optimized powertrain operation are unlikely to achieve the energy efficiency goals sought by this Program.
In essence, the co-optimization of vehicle-level (vehicle dynamic) and powertrain-level operations is sought in order to minimize the energy consumption of future vehicles. It is expected that Applicant teams may be composed of researchers and developers from a broad range of disciplines spanning automotive vehicle control, powertrain control and transportation analytics, to allow for the development of these advanced energy efficiency optimization technologies for future CAVs.