In a very recent article, Politico analyses how the projected success of connected vehicles in saving energy will depend on how humans relate to this emerging technology. The potentials are huge and can be effective in a number of domains.

For instance eco-driving allows smart cars and trucks to avoid sharp braking or accelerating, while systems that recognize driving behavior and provide on-trip and post-trip feedbacks could cut emissions by 5 to 20 percent. Another example is eco-navigation, a tool that uses maps and GPS to get the car to drive in a way that saves fuel instead of simply finding the fastest route to a destination, cutting emissions by 5 to 10 percent, a study finds.

Nevertheless, the success of these technologies will depend on how drivers use the equipment, and more specifically on drivers following the advice of their electronic copilots or not. Also, note that all the efficiency ushered in by cars and trucks platooning and driving more efficiently would make more room on the road. But just as building more roads creates more traffic, clearing existing roads could have a similar effect.

Read the article on Politico to learn how these potential backfires related to human behaviour could be efficiently tackled with sound policies.