A new smart phone application, Virtual Test Drive, from Virtual Vehicle Company (VEVco) will allow a phone to track the user's driving patterns in order to help them improve their mileage. The application uses the phone's GPS chip in order to track factors like when a user starts and stops driving, their customary speed, and the length of the the trips they take. The application requires no manual data input from the user.
When logging into the Virtual Test Drive site, the user is shown routes for previous trips with factors such as hills, acceleration points, and distance, along with information regarding how several types of plug-in car would have performed.
Knowing his or her driving patterns can help a driver determine the car that's best for them in terms of range, efficiency, cost and mileage, letting them pick from the variety of green cars available, as well as helping them choose between leasing and buying. The company believes that a lack of consumer information about electric and hybrid vehicles is slowing the adoption of such vehicles, and seeks to supply that need. Three quarters of car shoppers research their vehicle on the web before buying, and VEVco hopes to tap into that market.
Developed at UC Berkley and founded by Daniel M. Kammen, Laura Schewel, and Gopal Vaswani, the company has already garnered awards such as the Grand Prize in the Unversity of California Big Ideas Competition. and the DOW Sustainable Student Innovation Prize.
VEVco will release the beta version of the application this August, and intends to have a commercial version this November. The company is looking for beta testers with iPhones to test the app; email [email]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email] to apply.