Fuel Economy Coach

Don't tell anyone who's focused on reducing distracted driving, but the US Department of Energy (DOE) recently held a Fuel Efficiency Innovation apps contest. So, while the winner might not do much for keeping eyes away from smartphones while driving, it might save some gas.

This week, the DOE announced winners of its Apps for Vehicles Challenge, which was geared to get developers to create apps that might improve safety, fuel economy and driving comfort. Launched last October, the contest generated almost 40 entries, with the judges' prize going to the Dash app, the popular choice going to MyCarma and Green Button Gamer winning the safety innovation prize.

For those focused on cutting gas use, though, Fuel Economy Coach won the fuel efficiency innovation award. The app provides "real time feedback and driver coaching" that is supposed to help drivers cruise more efficiently – provided that a hands-free device is used, of course. Check out the DOE's press release below.
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DOE's Apps for Vehicles Challenge Winners announced

Energy Department Announces Apps for Vehicles Challenge Winners WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to expand access to data and reduce fuel costs for consumers, the Energy Department today announced the winners of the Apps for Vehicles Challenge. The competition asked app developers and entrepreneurs to demonstrate how the open data available on most vehicles can be used to improve vehicle safety, fuel efficiency and comfort. The Department awarded New York City-based Dash the Judges' Prize and MyCarma, headquartered in Troy, Michigan, the Popular Choice prize. Green Button Gamer, based in Boston, Massachusetts, won the Safety Innovation award and while Augusta, Georgia-based Fuel Economy Coach received the Fuel Efficiency Innovation award.

"By transforming vehicle data into valuable products and services, these innovators are helping American families and businesses save money and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. "These products are inspiring examples of how American ingenuity can contribute to a clean and secure U.S. transportation system.

" The Apps for Vehicles Challenge is focused on spurring innovative projects or services to reduce fuel costs and increase safety for consumers by utilizing vehicle-generated information, including data on engine speed, brake position, headlights, and distance traveled. Entries were judged based on their potential to help consumers improve fuel efficiency, creativity and innovation, use of open vehicle data, and consumer accessibility.

The Energy Department announced the competition during the first Energy Datapalooza in October 2012. Nearly 40 entries were submitted for the first phase of the competition, and seven were selected as finalists to advance to the second stage. These finalists also received guidance on their business plans and early stage prototypes from the industry experts, including Google, Connected World Magazine, Greenstart, OSISoft, CleanWeb and SAE International as well as the Departments of Energy and Transportation and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Specialized technical support was provided in the form of sample data creation by Ford Motor Company's "OpenXC Platform" and Moj.io, a startup company focused on utilizing vehicle data and connecting cars.

The products developed through the Apps for Vehicles Challenge are now available for download, providing consumers with unique solutions that improve vehicle safety, comfort and fuel efficiency. For example, MyCarma offers a personalized fuel economy sticker that is based on the driver instead of a standard test cycle, allowing car buyers to predict fuel consumption based on their unique driving patterns. Additionally, Dash turns any vehicle into a "smart car" by providing real diagnostics and alerts to enable the driver to maximize engine performance, minimize carbon emissions, and save money.

The Apps for Vehicles Challenge supports the Obama Administration's MyData initiative, which works to increase the growth of private sector services for people to securely access and use their own data, as well as the Energy Department's EV Everywhere Grand Challenge to make electric vehicles as affordable and convenient to own as today's gasoline-powered vehicles. For additional information on the Apps for Vehicles Challenge, visit vehicles.challenge.gov.