Haptic sensation when driving is something that shouldn’t be underestimated. What condition is the road in, how well are the tires gripping? Having or developing a feeling for this can help drivers handle their cars appropriately and safely.
Race drivers already have a word for it: seat-of-the-pants feel. They mean the contact between the seat of their pants and their driving seat, which allows them to feel the state of the road surface. Automated vehicles also urgently need information about road conditions. Unfortunately, however, they don’t have any feeling for such conditions or haven’t up to now.
Bosch has developed a system that gives automated vehicles seat-of-the-pants feel. “Wet roads, snow, ice, with our predictive road-condition services, we alert to hazards before critical situations can develop. 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,” says the Bosch management board member Dr. Dirk Hoheisel.
Foreca has two decades of experience in predicting road weather conditions. “Combining the expertise of Foreca and Bosch will lead to a new era of road-condition forecasting. Unlike weather forecasts in the media, the Bosch road-condition services take multiple possible forecast scenarios into consideration,” says Petri Marjava, Foreca’s sales director.
The road-condition services boost driving safety and smoothness. In addition, the availability of automated driving functions is increased. The Bosch services package is to be rolled out worldwide in 2020, initially on the basis of weather data. As more and more connected cars appear on the roads, the service will be augmented by vehicle data.