Foreca to provide weather data for Bosch’s future predictive road-condition service for CAVs

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When Bosch’s predictive road-condition services package for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) is rolled out worldwide in 2020, its weather data will be provided by Finnish meteorological company Foreca.

Up to the highly automated SAE Level 4, the decision as to whether a car can assume the task of driving depends on factors such as road type, speed range and environmental conditions. In future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), this decision could also be based on the predictive road-condition services provided by Bosch, which will let the vehicle know in good time what environmental conditions to expect.

This means it will have plenty of time to adapt its driving style, instead of having to hand over the driving task to the driver at the first sign of impaired road conditions, however minor. If the vehicle’s route takes it through rain, it will adapt its speed well in advance to a level that excludes any risk of aquaplaning and allows it to stop safely at any time. Whatever the SAE automation level, the result will be a safe drive that is also smooth and comfortable.

For its predictive road-condition services, Bosch is relying on a multiphase concept. By the time of its planned launch in 2020, it cannot be expected that there will be a sufficiently large proportion of connected vehicles on the roads. For this reason, road-weather forecasts will initially be the only reliable source of information for drawing sound conclusions about road conditions, especially in rural areas where there is less traffic.

Bosch will get the constantly updated global road-weather data it needs from Foreca, one of the world’s leading providers of meteorological information, with two decades of experience in predicting road weather conditions.

As a sufficient number of connected vehicles take to the roads, Bosch will supplement its predictive road-condition services with real-time vehicle data. This data will include information stored on the CANbus, the vehicle’s central data network, such as the temperatures measured inside and outside the vehicle, and whether the windshield wipers are in use. Due to connectivity, this data will not remain unused in the vehicle, but will find its way into the Bosch cloud via the respective auto maker’s back-end server.

Bosch will also evaluate the regular interventions by the ESP anti-skid system. Using mathematical methods, engineers can measure the friction coefficient of the road surface at each individual wheel, as well as the status of each wheel. When all these data are combined and intelligently evaluated, the result is a package of smart services suitable for CAVs.

“Wet roads, snow, ice; with our predictive road-condition services, we offer alerts to hazards before critical situations can develop,” explained Bosch board member Dr Dirk Hoheisel. “We are helped here by the weather data provided by our partner Foreca. This means an automated vehicle will know exactly where it can drive autonomously, and how.”

Petri Marjava, Foreca’s sales director, added, “Combining our expertise with that of Bosch will lead to a new era of forecasting. Unlike weather forecasts in the media, the Bosch road-condition services take multiple possible forecast scenarios into consideration.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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