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Science and Technology Highlights

Highlights in Research & Development

Fleet DNA Brings Fleet Data to Life, Informs R&D

NREL employs data fusion, multivariate analysis, and innovative visualization techniques to help industry partners optimize advanced vehicle technologies.

Duran standing in front of a screen with images on it, holding a device that makes the images move on the screen.

NREL researcher Adam Duran shares visualization of transportation data collected in collaboration with fleet partner at NREL's Insight Center. Photo by John De La Rosa, NREL 34672

The Fleet DNA clearinghouse of commercial vehicle operations data features over 11.5 million miles of high-fidelity data from more than 1,700 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles operating across a variety of vocations—delivery vans and trucks, school buses, transit buses, bucket trucks, service vans, tractor trailers, and refuse trucks. This massive data repository contains detailed powertrain data from conventional, electric, and hybrid vehicles. An online portal provides vehicle duty-cycle summaries and visualizations similar to real-world genetics, helping users understand the broad operational range of commercial vehicles.

The data-driven insight and decision-making capabilities facilitated by Fleet DNA support a variety of research activities and partnerships with industry; academia; research organizations; and federal, state, and regional agencies. Transportation researchers use this vetted data resource to guide research by pinpointing opportunities for further development. Vehicle and component developers and manufacturers use Fleet DNA to optimize designs and support the development of commercially viable, energy-efficient vehicles. Fleet managers leverage Fleet DNA to improve fleet composition, selecting advanced vehicles that meet their unique operational requirements as well as their bottom lines.

Drawing on NREL's high-performance computing capabilities, Fleet DNA can be combined with other data resources related to geospatial road networks, weather, and traffic density, and subjected to data fusion, multivariate analysis, and advanced visualization techniques to investigate complex, multi-dimensional transportation issues and solutions.

The secure data repository consists of high-resolution controller area network and global positioning system data collected by NREL in collaboration with fleets across the country, including UPS, FedEx, Coke, Frito-Lay, Foothill Transit, PG&E, Verizon, Walmart, Waste Management, and more.

In addition to data collection, quality assurance, and secure data storage, NREL subjects incoming data to specialized processing routines, producing more than 350 unique duty-cycle metrics characterizing vehicle operating behavior. Publically accessible data are cleansed of personally identifying information, and aggregated results are categorized by vocation and weight class and made available for download via along with related technical reports.

Fleet DNA is a key component in NREL’s arsenal of integrated modeling and analysis tools designed to overcome technical barriers and accelerate the development of advanced transportation technologies and systems that maximize energy savings and on-road performance.