Co-operative traffic safety system developed for challenging climate conditions in Finland

25/01/2012

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Mobisoft Oy and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, with support from partners, have developed a communication system for drivers to inform them about weather and road conditions. The purpose of the system is to prevent serious or fatal accidents. Its commercialization will be advanced during the next couple of years.

When there is snow or ice on the road, the risk of an accident is increased by a factor of 4.1 compared to normal conditions, according to research conducted at the Tampere University of Technology. VTT and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, under the international WiSafeCar project and with support from partners, have developed a vehicle and traffic communication system aimed at improving traffic safety. This communication system was developed with Finland’s challenging climate conditions in mind.

The system allows vehicles to transmit traffic and weather observations to a traffic service centre, where the data are analysed and conveyed to other vehicles on the road, together with information on road conditions. The system also alerts drivers in case of imminent danger of an accident due to slippery road.

Co-operative driving, where vehicles and intelligent transport systems communicate and change information with each other, is becoming more common; it is estimated that such systems will become a standard feature some time between 2014 and 2030. Development is brisk, particularly in Europe, the USA and Japan. The system designed by the Finnish organisations described here differs from others in its holistic approach and in providing drivers with real-time information on weather and road conditions.

The project involved testing short-range data transfer compliant with the IEEE 802.11p standard, and long-range communication based on a mobile phone network. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first pilot project in Finland to employ both mobile radio technologies at the same time.

The role of VTT in the project is to develop a collaborative, content centric vehicle network and sensor technology for monitoring road conditions. Mobisoft is the project co-ordinator and is also developing the back-office system for traffic services. These results are integrated into the vehicle computers of Sunit Oy. The Finnish Meteorological Institute is developing the road weather service for the system, and is also contributing to the design of the inter-vehicle information network architecture. Taipale Telematics Oy is evaluating measuring methods and investigating how they can be used on board and for producing data on road conditions. Infotripla Oy combines the traffic data into real-time information of the situation which is transferred to the data systems of the vehicle.

The WiSafeCar project involves 9 research organisations and companies in Finland, Luxembourg and South Korea; the project was started in 2009 and ends in March 2012. Total budget of the project is EUR 5.9 million. The project belongs to the Eureka-CELTIC programme, whose national funding provider in Finland is the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes.

Commercialisation of the project results has been launched with traffic services development, and more results will be forthcoming over the next two years. The project consortium will continue to disseminate the results under a new project, CoMoSeF. The main purpose here is to cut the current cost of the vehicle system (EUR 1,000–5,000) to about half.

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