RCube: It Ain't Easy Being Green

Megan Benoit
by Megan Benoit
rcube it ain t easy being green

BusinessGreen reports that Ricardo, Land Rover, mapmaker Ordnance Survey, mobile giant Orange and the UK's Transport Research Laboratory have banded together to develop the "rCube control system." In theory, the bolt-in computer will combine the [now] familiar real time traffic data with automatic control over a hybrid's engine, batteries, throttle and brakes. Say what? "If you are approaching a junction or a traffic jam and have to stop, the control system will optimise the deceleration to limit how hard you have to brake and maximise the amount of energy that is captured and used to recharge the battery," explains Tom Robinson, senior product group manager for control and electronics at Ricardo. "It means that you get a smoother ride and lower emissions." The scarily-named "Sentience project" promises a prototype rCube-equipped Ford Escape Hybrid by the summer. So… what's hybridless lame duck Land Rover got to do with any of this? And why can't they just teach people to go easy on the gas and the brakes?

Join the conversation
4 of 5 comments
  • Dean Dean on Nov 30, 2007

    How long is it before you hear this from your car when you attempt to accelerate: "Are you sure you want to do that, Dave?"

  • Virtual Insanity Virtual Insanity on Nov 30, 2007

    This sounds all well and good...but don't GPS units have a sort of margin of error?

  • Glenn126 Glenn126 on Nov 30, 2007

    The only advantage that robot-driven cars will have is that I'll be able to read TTAC online on the way to & from work. (wink) Seriously, do you think that in our litigous society, robotized cars will ever be possible? Whoops, someone in a non-robot car pulls out from a side-road right into the car. Lawsuit city!!! "Why didn't the robot car save my wife?" (Real world answer: the laws of physics were not repealed).

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 01, 2007

    GPS is accurate to about 30 meters without a secondary signal from a ground based source. This can go up to about 100 meters or more if you are not getting enough signals. Laser Gyros can keep help a lot as well. Modern cars mostly have several of the gyros. A smart road would bring the error down to inches. Prototypes already work without the smart road. Your government(s) are presently all working on ways to put UAV's over your house to watch everything. The multi million dollar versions used by the air force have a fairly bad failure rate. The ones your police are looking at are nothing but toys and will be hitting the ground all over town. Please contact your congressman. The robot car will have a complete record of everything that happened. There will likely be very little discussion as to who is at fault. I suspect their will be tort protection placed by congress to allow these cars to exist in the interest of public safety and getting votes from people too old to drive. The biggest benefit will be a serious reduction in air travel because you will be able to sleep in your car and arrive in the morning! That will free up more or your airspace for the UAV's to watch everything you do.