A Boulder company that can predict the temperature of roadways anywhere in the world within 2 degrees Celsius has signed a partnership agreement with Swedish company NIRA Dynamics AB to advance the use of weather technology in making cars safer.
NIRA, a company within the Volkswagen AG orbit and an actor in road condition data, will use Global Weather Corp. technology to make autonomous vehicles smarter. Global Weather is a technology transfer spinoff of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.
“They’re a company that works with road friction,” Global Weather CEO Bill Gail said about NIRA. “Car companies are interested in road friction because they can determine how safe the roads are.”
NIRA measures how friction is applied to the vehicle, and Global Weather fills in knowledge gaps, he said.
“Sensors (on the car) tell you what friction is now, but not what it will be in a half hour from now,” Gail said. Global Weather technology goes beyond predicting rain, for example, but “computes the evolution of the rain or snow on the road,” he said, so an autonomous vehicle or a driver-controlled vehicle can adapt to conditions before actually experiencing them.
Gail said the current deal is a partnership between two companies working to develop the next generation of road condition services, which would then be sold to auto manufacturers. At that stage, Global Weather would likely sign volume-based contracts valued on the number of vehicles that use the technology.
“By combining data from connected vehicles with the world’s most precise weather and road predictive analytics, we anticipate that we can develop the safest driving experience ever,” Johan Brynås, chief product owner road surface information at NIRA Dynamics, said in a statement.
The technology also will permit governments to overlay maps with friction data to help manage roadways during extreme weather conditions.
The number of connected vehicles with NIRA algorithms will reach 1.7 million during 2021. By adding the weather data from Global Weather, the NIRA/GWC combination will provide industry-leading road surface monitoring and prediction of future road conditions.
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