Norwegian road authority invests in new technology for winter roads
The Norwegian road authority Norska Statens Vegvesen has invested in new technology for winter road prognosis from Klimator and NIRA Dynamics. The companies’ Road Status Information (RSI) software is designed to employ algorithms that combine the data from connected vehicles with information from roadside weather stations and weather forecasts. The idea is to turn connected vehicles into rolling weather stations that transmit signals including current road friction, which is the key to determine local road grip. RSI reportedly manages to determine the road grip conditions in real time with high precision.
"This technology quantum leap is overdue in the business to make use of new opportunities and meet the road users' expectations. We have tested the new technology and are confident that RSI is the best performing solution," explained Torgeir Vaa from Norska Statens Vegvesen.
The vehicles, connected via NIRA-developed OBD-dongles, register current position, ambient temperature, wiper activity, and road friction. The company's say it takes only a few minutes to equip a vehicle, and shortly after, the data is continuously available on the RSI-server.
"We are inspired by our successful tire pressure monitoring system which is installed in over 40 million vehicles around the world. A few years from now, OBD-dongles will be replaced by small software modules standard-fitted into connected vehicles," added Gustav Kristiansson, Manager of New Technologies at NIRA Dynamics.
The project began in January 2018 in Tromsö, and more than 300 private car owners have registered their vehicles to participate.
"We have not been expecting such a resonance," admitted Torgeir Vaa. "The plan was to have only about 50 OBD units for private volunteers, but we are very happy about this level of acceptance. The remaining OBD-dongles will be fitted into taxis, rental cars, and delivery vehicles with varying use patterns—we expect very interesting winter months."
Due to international interest, as well, RSI will be presented at the PIARC fair in February, a meeting point for winter service specialists worldwide. RSI is in use at several Swedish winter services already, but the company says it could also be used by the police, fire departments, or logistic companies and for the planning of special transports.