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The environmental impact of computers

Learning Intentions

  • Describe the environmental impact of intelligent systems including heating systems, traffic control and car management systems

Success Criteria

  • I can identify and describe different intelligent systems

What are intelligent systems?

  • Intelligent systems are computer systems that make use of artificial intelligence to imitate human intelligence.

  • They are used to perform tasks that are usually done by humans such as autopilot for flying planes, credit card fraud protection, robotic vacuum cleaners etc.

The environmental impact

  • Increasing processing power and improving AI techniques such as  image recognition, touch-sensing and speech recognition.

  • Autonomous unmanned vehicles have sensors and AI software that allow them to act independently, rather than being controlled remotely by a human

  • These robots are able to reach places that are too dangerous for humans

The environmental impact

  • We know from National 5 that computing systems can have a negative effect on the environment.

  • This is caused by the emissions of greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels.

  • Intelligent systems can help reduce this impact by providing systems that are more efficient in their energy requirements which lead to reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions
     

Heating systems

  • Early central-heating systems used thermostats that could be set manually to control the heat emitted by individual radiators and offer some control over the efficiency of the system.

  • Smart heating systems offer more efficient control by intelligently adapting to the day-to-day use of the system.

Heating systems

  • Smart heating systems can learn from previous data using activity sensors what temperatures are preferred in which rooms and at what time of the day.

  • Movement sensors monitor the amount of activity in each room and increase or reduce the heat accordingly.

  • If the thermostat is connected to the internet or a network (like with the Hive System) it can be manually controlled using an app on a smartphone. This means you can control your heating from a remote location and have the home heated for coming in

Past Paper Questions

Describe two ways that intelligent heating systems such as the HiDoe can be used to reduce the carbon footprint of homes.

 

2 marks

2017 Q10 e)

  • Remote access to control heating when not at home
  • Use of geolocation can automatically turn heating off when no one is home
  • Takes account of external weather forecast and adjusts temperature accordingly
  • Real time temperature monitoring through mobile devices can reduce unnecessary gas/fuel use
  • Data can be analysed to determine how quickly a home heats and how slowly it loses heat meaning that the boiler can be used more efficiently
  • Multi room control systems prevent rooms being overheated when not in use

Traffic control systems

  • Vehicles are considered one of the main contributing sources of greenhouse gas. Studies in the European Union showed that transport causes 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Vehicles consume greater amounts of fuel when they are constantly accelerating and braking in traffic jams. The optimum speed for low fuel consumption and low emissions is between 45 and 65 miles per hour. 

Traffic control systems

  • Intelligent transport systems use software and hardware, along with information & communications technologies, to improve the efficiency and safety of transport networks
  • They use a variety of info from sensors and cameras, along with control traffic signals, to try and keep traffic moving, thus reducing the amount of harmful emissions
  • Cars with individual navigation systems use satellite info on traffic flow to guide drivers away from congestion and on to more free-flowing routes

Car management systems

  • Car management systems are ways of reducing fuel consumption of cars and other vehicles.

  • Start-stop systems will automatically shut down the engine when the car is not moving and in neutral – this reduces the amount of time the engine spends idling, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

  • The car will automatically re-start when the accelerator is pressed, which is most advantageous for vehicles that spend significant amounts of time waiting in traffic (at lights or in jams.

  • Engine control units use sensors to ensure the engine’s air/fuel ratio can be controlled very accurately, ensuring optimum fuel consumption and a reduction of carbon dioxide

cAR MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Car management systems are ways of reducing fuel consumption of cars and other vehicles.

  • Start-stop systems will automatically shut down the engine when the car is not moving and in neutral – this reduces the amount of time the engine spends idling, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

  • The car will automatically re-start when the accelerator is pressed, which is most advantageous for vehicles that spend significant amounts of time waiting in traffic (at lights or in jams.

  • Engine control units use sensors to ensure the engine’s air/fuel ratio can be controlled very accurately, ensuring optimum fuel consumption and a reduction of carbon dioxide

Past Paper Questions

Describe an intelligent system used on a car journey that is beneficial for the environment.

 

Justify your answer.

 

2 marks

2021 Q3

  • autonomous driving (1) is more fuel efficient due to system controlling accelerating/decelerating and detecting/anticipating braking (1)
  • intelligent route planning (1) reduces driving time by monitoring external factors such as accidents/volume of traffic which reduces fuel consumption (1)
  • tracking parking (1) reduces driving time searching for space and therefore fuel consumption (1)
  • engine management system (1) optimises engine efficiency reducing fuel consumption (1)
    intelligent road traffic management systems (1) adjusting speed limits to optimise traffic flow reducing fuel consumption (1)

In the exam

  • This topic will likely come up in the exam, although it will only be worth 1 or 2 (usually 2) marks.

Use key words such as sensors and automatically and highlight that by using sensors and automation there is a reduction in energy/ fuel usage

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The Environmental Impact of Computers
© 2020 - 2024 J Balfour
08:43 | 21-05-2024
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