Ice detector warns drivers in advance
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed an automatic
slipperiness detection system for cars. The system helps drivers to avoid
personal injuries and damage to vehicles in slippery road conditions. Thanks
to the system, vehicles are warned in advance of a road’s actual slipperiness.
If the road becomes slippery, other vehicles arriving in the area will also be
VTT's system makes use of an entirely novel, real-time method of obtaining
information on a road’s actual slipperiness. Transmission of slippery road
warnings to vehicles via, for example, SMS messages has been tested before
but, lacking the information now available, warnings have been based on
estimates derived from sources such as weather forecasts. Thanks to the new
system, it is possible to obtain direct information on road conditions.
detection is based on a method developed by VTT, whereby changes in road
conditions are detected in real time, based on data collected by the car's own
sensors. ”The method entails estimating the difference in the speeds of the
drive shaft and freely rotating axles in various driving situations, which
enables deduction of the level of friction”, says Senior Scientist Kimmo
The system is capable of determining the
slipperiness of a road on the basis of a drive of a few kilometres. The
information is then passed on to the driver, before he or she has even noticed
the change in road conditions. After this, observations collected from all
cars and the related coordinates are transmitted wirelessly to a background
system, which maintains a real-time slipperiness map and generates a log of
the road conditions. For each car that joins the system, the background system
produces and transmits an individual data package on road conditions. This
allows drivers to prepare in advance for slippery stretches of road.
vehicle terminal devices can be used to join the system, as long as they have
sufficient capacity to carry out the slipperiness detection calculations, have
a link to the vehicle's data bus, are equipped with a location tracking system
and are able to connect to the background system. Information on the level of
slipperiness can be transmitted to drivers by means of warning lights, voice
signals, text or symbols, according to the possibilities offered by the
terminal device. As well as through vehicle terminal devices, this information
can be utilised via many other communication channels, such as smart phones,
the national media, weather forecasts or roadside signs.
Developed by VTT, this system fits all cars,
irrespective of their make. At present, the system has been used in heavy
lorries, but is also directly compatible with other heavy vehicles. Using the
current method, passenger cars can also make use of the slipperiness data
produced by the system. In the future, the system can be expanded to make use
of observations collected from passenger cars.
functionality has been tested in the field, in cooperation with VR-Transpoint
and EC-Tools Oy.
Widespread implementation of the system
would create significant savings for transport operators, other road users and
society at large.
For VTT's part, the system is ready for
commercialisation. Negotiations to commercialise the system are under way with
the first candidate, EC-Tools.
The system was developed into
its current form under the three-year Energy efficient and Intelligent
Heavyduty Vehicle (HDENIQ) research project, principally funded by Tekes.