NIRA Dynamics uses HERE to know when wheels will grip and when they’ll slip

Bradley Walker
New York City 40°42'52" N, 74°00'26” W

Differing road surfaces, differing tires and weather all constantly alter traction conditions. NIRA Dynamics uses scalability of the HERE Open Location Platform to map traction conditions and improve road safety now, and in the future.

Under normal conditions, driving at 60 mph, it takes 130 feet for your car to come to a complete stop. There are a dizzying number of variables that can affect this equation. What’s the grade/slope of the road? Is the road surface asphalt or concrete? Is there precipitation? What’s the ambient temperature? How old are your tires?

In the city of Linköping, Sweden, NIRA Dynamics has taken on the mission to improve safety, performance, and comfort of driving by providing cost-effective software in the car. They build algorithms that combine data from multiple sensors in the car and provide feedback distilled from internal data variables such as tire pressure, loose wheels and road surface conditions to the driver.

Their engineers are creating software that considers external factors such as precipitation, ambient temperature, road attributes and many others to answer with a true friction or traction model for the roadways. This model looks very much like a traffic congestion map you’ve seen in the past, but areas of concern don’t represent gridlock. Rather, they represent the dynamic conditions of friction on the roadways, which when calculated precisely, can improve safety for drivers – and autonomous vehicles of the future.

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Now imagine collecting all the data needed, from all the cars on the road, for all the roads in the world. For that, you need scalability, and NIRA chose the HERE Open Location Platform to solve the challenge. The heavy task of gathering real-time sensor data, enriching it with location information for better insights, processing the data using algorithms and scaling up for production is a classic one – one that our Open Location Platform is very well suited for.

As our newest collaborator, NIRA is leveraging HERE Open Location Platform to process the algorithms their engineers have designed with sensor data from millions of cars on the roadways. Not only are they using the platform’s map data and geo-location services to map match wheel sensor data with precise locations – they’re also leveraging the platform’s cloud capabilities to scale up the processing pipeline needed to distill that data into actionable information.

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Figure 1. Friction represented by color coding on roadways

Using all of the sensor data from all of the vehicles that have different types of tires, NIRA can process and aggregate different measurements and deliver customized results back to drivers. Or, put differently, they can provide a different advisory to a heavy shipping vehicle with older tires, compared to a light vehicle with good tires on the same road.

In the near term, this provides better safety alerts to drivers, enabling them to make better driving decisions. In the longer term, this provides critical information that autonomous vehicles will need to maintain safety on the highways and byways.

We spoke with Per Magnusson, Project Manager at NIRA Dynamics overseeing this effort about why they chose HERE Open Location Platform.

“Our core business is selling friction data, we are friction expert and HERE is the location expert. We can use different types of data with friction data such as traffic to enhance the understanding of the road beyond the line of sight. HERE provides different types of location data and we can use that data to enhance it with friction data. We liked that the HERE Open Location Platform is a neutral and open platform and it was our number one choice when evaluating our options”.

NIRA has been improving safety and performance for vehicles for years, and we’re proud to collaborate with them to add more location intelligence into the HERE Open Location Platform, and to further NIRA’s business goals.

Topics: Open Location Platform, Editor's picks, Powered by HERE

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