University of Toronto research wins AUTO21 TestDRIVE competition

Work reduces carbon emissions by up to 10% through eco-driving techniques.

TORONTO — An eco-driving training program helped a University of Toronto student win AUTO21’s TestDRIVE national automotive research competition.

Turuna Seecharan, a post-doctoral fellow, has been awarded a $7,000 prize for her work on reducing carbon emissions through eco-driving techniques. Eco-driving techniques can reduce fuel consumption by 10% on average, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and mitigating rising fuel and maintenance costs for commercial fleets.

Seecharan’s research uses simulator-based eco-driving training for fleet drivers to encourage drivers to adopt fuel-efficient driving behaviour. Research results show that a simulator-based eco-driving training program can improve the driving behaviour of fleet drivers, lead to a sustained improvement in driving behaviour and encourage a high-level of motivation in drivers to learn eco-driving techniques. Seecharan works under the supervision of Andrew Jardine, professor emeritus of industrial engineering at the University of Toronto.

The AUTO21 TestDRIVE competition showcased leading edge technologies and automotive knowledge developed in part by Canadian university graduate students. AUTO21 provides funding to 38 applied R&D projects at 48 universities across the country. More than 400 students contribute to the projects, along with nearly 200 academic researchers. Since 2001, AUTO21 has supported more than 2,500 graduate student researchers with federal and private-sector funding.

“It is important to connect Canada’s scientific strength to the marketplace and help our excellent new graduates build their careers here where they were educated,” said Peter Frise, scientific director and CEO of AUTO21.

TestDRIVE was hosted in partnership with the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) and held in conjunction with the annual all-member meeting of the Ontario Council of Manufacturing Executives in Toronto.

Kinga Eliasz of McMaster University was also awarded a $3,500 prize for her research on an in-car recording device that quantifies changes in actual on-road driving behaviour in older drivers.

AUTO21 supports research projects in six key areas: health, safety and injury prevention; societal issues; materials and manufacturing; design processes; powertrains, fuels and emissions; and intelligent systems and sensors.

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