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Modern vehicles from the Volkswagen Group are equipped with numerous sensors that make driving significantly safer and more comfortable. The vehicle data collected not only make a valuable contribution to the development of future driving functions. They can equally deliver added value for citizens, cities and their administrations. In cooperation with the City of Hamburg, the Volkswagen Group Innovation, as part of the strategic mobility partnership, has examined how the intelligent use of anonymized sensor data can make a contribution to greater safety in urban traffic. The result: information on road conditions as well as friction coefficient data, which are made available in real time by cars driving in the city, provide a particularly significant added value for the road administration. NIRA Dynamics AB is already offering this data from series vehicles across Europe for public administration. NIRA is a subsidiary of CARIAD, the software company of the Volkswagen Group.
more safety in city traffic
“Anonymized sensor data from our Group vehicles have the potential to create enormous added value for cities, municipalities and citizens, especially in the area of traffic safety and road administration. The results from the research project between the city of Hamburg and Volkswagen Group Innovation show the form in which data can be used profitably for cities and also which specific administrative needs and structures we have to take into account, "says Lisa Åbom, CEO of NIRA Dynamics AB, that works together with CARIAD on mobility solutions.
“The more vehicles with sensor technology drive through the city, the larger and the better the quality of our live database. And this in turn helps us to recognize changes in the condition of the roads more quickly over time, to react quickly to deterioration and to remedy them, ”explains Jens Burmann, project manager at the State Office for Roads, Bridges and Waters of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
Project study: sensor data for more security
A key objective of the project study was to examine and qualitatively evaluate the information that can be generated by the vehicles in almost real time. From this, the project partners derived possible applications that can contribute to more safety in urban traffic and support strategic maintenance management.
In the future, for example, the sensor data could help the city to coordinate its winter service faster and more efficiently: information registered and made available by the vehicle on outside temperature and adhesion or possible tire spinning due to slippery roads can be used to send gritters there where the roads are particularly slippery and road safety is at risk. The road coefficient of friction is used to estimate the smoothness of the road for winter service and is given on a scale from “very smooth” to “very good tire grip”. Findings from the existing cooperation between NIRA Dynamics and Sweden and the Netherlands show that, for example, up to a third of road salt can be saved in this way.
Another example is the targeted recording of road damage. Thanks to the vehicle data provided, which depicts and supplements the current picture of the road situation almost in real time, road damage caused by deviations from the target state can be detected, assessed and, if necessary, quickly eliminated. The road condition is also described here by different levels from “very good” to “very bad”.
Data from over 35.000 test kilometers
The project partners used selected and specially marked taxis and test vehicles from Volkswagen, which covered a total of more than 35.000 test kilometers in the city of Hamburg, as a database. The sensor data is provided in compliance with data protection regulations on the Urban Data Platform Hamburg (UDP_HH) operated by the Hamburg State Office for Geoinformation and Surveying (LGV), merged with other data from the various areas of the city and made usable for a wide variety of applications via standardized interfaces.
2030: up to 40 million networked Group vehicles
Many vehicles from the brands of the Volkswagen Group have intelligent sensors on board as standard equipment. CARIAD plans to network up to 2030 million vehicles from the Volkswagen Group with the cloud by 40. NIRA Dynamics already offers data from series vehicles for public administration throughout Europe. The software company is already in talks with other German and European cities in order to make the added value of this data available to even more municipalities. If the data of as many road users as possible are combined, the quality of the information increases further.
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