A satellite navigation device that takes drivers on the most environmentally friendly route is being developed.

Current ‘satnavs’ attempt to work out the quickest route from A to B but the prototype identifies what should be the route that minimises greenhouse gas emissions, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The paper said initial tests by Dr Eva Ericsson at the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden found that routes calculated by their system reduced fuel consumption by 8.2%.

The report said the ‘green’ satnav works by assigning sections of roads in its database with fuel consumption scores depending on street width, speed limits and typical traffic flows at peak and off-peak hours.

The researchers, who tested their system in Lund, reportedly tried to augment its effectiveness by sending a vehicle to report real-time data on traffic flow but found that with only one car they detected a quarter of traffic jams. To make use of a traffic monitoring vehicle effective they would need to identify at least 50% of jams.

According to the Telegraph, Liévin Quoidbach, a supplier of digital satnav maps based in Belgium, told New Scientist magazine: “Making the measurements give every street in the world a fuel consumption factor will be too expensive.”

But researchers said this problem could be overcome if enough drivers could be recruited to volunteer their cars to provide live traffic flow data to feed into their system, the Daily Telegraph added.