An automatic road grip detection system developed by VTT helps drivers
avoid personal injuries and damage to vehicles in slippery road conditions. The
system ensures that the vehicle receives rapid advance information about the
actual level of surface grip, and gives immediate warning to other vehicles
arriving in the area.
Information to be relayed to vehicles concerning low road grip has previously
been tested using SMS, for example, with warnings based on estimations derived
from meteorological information and other sources. The new system allows direct
observations of surface grip levels in real time.
Road grip detection is based on a method developed and patented by VTT, in
which detection of real-time changes in the level of grip are based on
measurement information supplied by the vehicle’s own sensors. The system is
able to determine low levels of grip after a distance of a few kilometres and to
relay the information to the driver, often before he or she is aware of any
change in road conditions.
All observations, including coordinates, collected from vehicles are relayed
wirelessly to a back-end system that maintains a real-time road grip map and
generates an overall picture of the grip levels in the road network. Packages of
road grip information, tailored to each vehicle, are produced and relayed by the
back-end system to all vehicles connected to the system. This allows drivers to
prepare themselves for slippery stretches of road ahead.
The system developed by VTT is suitable for all makes of vehicles. Up to now
the system has been applied to heavy goods vehicles, but is also directly
applicable to other types of heavy vehicle, and in future also to private cars.
Later on, the system can be extended to benefit from road grip observations
collected from private cars.
The functionality of the method has been verified n field trials with Itella
Logistics (formerly VR Transpoint groupage logistics), EC-Tools Oy and Nokian
Tyres plc. VTT is currently negotiating commercialisation of the system.