New Finnish software system detects slippery road conditions and improves fuel economy

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A new Finnish invention developed by EEE Innovations and VTT Technical Research Center of Finland revolutionizes the way black ice is detected, and also provides several other traffic safety and fuel economy improvements.

Software specialists EEE Innovations and VTT have co-developed the eGrip slipperiness detection system and the eDAS driver assistance system as the result of several VTT heavy vehicle research projects, and they have been piloted in one EU-level project, as well as programs in Finland.

Both systems are software-based and can be installed into the majority of heavy vehicles with no additional equipment required, and can also be applied to private vehicles. In both cases the software takes its data from the vehicle’s existing CAN (controller area network) management system, with the information also available for other ‘connected’ vehicles or traffic operations centers. The software can be installed as an independent entity, containing both the driving optimization and slipperiness detection components.

eGrip detects slippery driving conditions fast, accurately and at low cost, by using vehicles moving on the road network as sensors. The method is based on constant measuring and analyzing of data received from the CAN channel of the vehicle. The solution is software-based, with no need to install additional sensor equipment or extra measures taken by the driver.

eDAS is a real-time telematics system that was originally developed for buses, which helps to reduce energy consumption, keep vehicles on schedule, and reduce speeding, thereby improving the service level and passenger satisfaction for the entire bus fleet. The software installed in vehicles can also guide drivers to drive more economically, and has the potential to reduce energy consumption by up to 20%. During VTT trials on city buses, the system showed 5-10% fuel reductions and decreased drivers speeding to get ahead of schedules by 80%.

“The driving optimization system we have developed is the only one capable of recognizing the driver’s input in economical driving, taking also into account factors independent of the driver, such as weather conditions, traffic jams and vehicle-related differences,” said Jarmo Leino from EEE Innovations. “Our goal is to make all heavy vehicles moving slipperiness sensors and to refine the gathered data into valuable information, to benefit all traffic users and other parties.”

VTT’s principal scientist, Raine Hautala, added, “The pilot project indicates that with the system, savings up to 20% in fuel consumption can be reached, in addition to improved road safety.”

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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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