Biral launches new visibility sensor for roadside weather monitoring systems


Meteorological equipment specialists Biral has launched a new Road Weather Sensor (RWS-20) to monitor visibility and obstruction to vision for road transport applications.

UK-based Biral (Bristol Industrial & Research Associates Ltd) manufactures high quality meteorological sensors for professional markets, and its new product has been designed for use in road applications to provide reliable visibility measurement data. The sensor has been manufactured to allow easy integration with any Road Weather Information System (RWIS). The RWS-20 has been specifically developed for the harsh road-side environment and is based upon the proven and very successful SWS range of visibility sensors, sharing many of its advanced technical features. The new design is a compact unit using the forward scatter measurement principle and remains accurate in all weather conditions, ensuring local light sources, such as headlights or flashing signs, do not impact its operation or reliability.

The RWS-20 has a measurement range of 33ft (10m) to 4.6 miles (7.5km), for use in road applications where fog, rain, spray and snow can create dangerous driving conditions. The optical windows and sensor hoods contain heating for use in harsh weather conditions throughout the year. Both optical windows have systems for lens contamination monitoring, ensuring the visibility output is constantly compensated to maintain accuracy, while reducing routine maintenance duties.

In addition to monitored window heating, Biral’s new Road Weather Sensor has a two-year warranty and self-test capabilities, along with automatic alerts for cleaning the optical windows. The product has a serial data output of RS232, RS422 or RS485, while providing analogue voltage visibility outputs (0-10V) or the extinction coefficient (EXCO). The RWS-20 also features optional relays that can directly connect to road-side signage and other control systems, allowing intelligent communication and operation of local warning signs. This new addition to Biral’s Weather Sensor range is easily integrated into any Road Weather Information System (RWIS) to create a complete meteorological monitoring system.

At the end of last year, Biral secured a national project with the Turkish meteorological authority, MGM, to upgrade 120 automatic weather stations (AWS) with the company’s SWS-250 present weather and visibility sensor. In 2015, the MGM, which provides weather data for the country’s General Directorate of Highways (KGM), procured 75 SWS-250 visibility and present weather sensors for the first roll-out of its upgrade program to add visibility and present weather data to their extensive network of AWS. The second phase is extending this very successful initial project and will give the MGM an extensive national monitoring network across Turkey.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).