VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has patented two inventions that effectively turn vehicles into “moving slipperiness sensors”. The data collected by these on-board computers is refined, analyzed and forwarded to the drivers’ peripheral devices. The system eliminates the need for external sensors.
”The existing systems rely on fixed observation stations or vehicles specially equipped for detecting slippery conditions.Our eGrip system, on the other hand, relies on software designed to make all vehicles moving real-time sensors. eGrip allows real-time detection of slippery road conditions much more accurately than the existing systems and at a significantly lower cost,” explains Jarmo Leino, CEO of EEE Innovations, the company behind the commercialization of VTT’s inventions.
The company is currently running pilot projects in Helsinki with the Helsinki Region Transport HSL, with VTT and Linkkeri, says Leino. Projects with the Neste fuel company are also on the drawing board.“Our primary goal is to use the data we collect to improve the safety and cost-efficiency of road traffic worldwide. Our solution has received very positive feedback. Commitment to safety and cost-efficiency seems to attract interest globally, not just in Finland,” Leino notes.
Also a software-based solution, eDas driver assistance system observes and analyses factors unrelated to the driver, such as traffic jams, weather conditions and vehicle dissimilarities. This allows the information collected from the vehicle to be used to analyze the driver’s impact on fuel economy, and to identify any vehicle malfunctions. The system quickly learns to create optimal speed profiles for each route and provides real-time instructions to drivers, thereby improving fuel economy. The system also allows centralized bus fleet management, enabling scheduling and dynamics in line with specific criteria.
“In the future, we will be able to add other driver assistance features such as automatic vehicle control and detection of dangerous driving,” Leino concludes.
The novel software is also attracting the interest of insurance companies and providers of road maintenance services, road condition reports and navigator services, vehicle manufacturers and vehicle system suppliers. In the 27 EU member states alone, there are 34,000,000 goods vehicles and 820,000 buses that could benefit from the invention.
“The solutions developed by EEE Innovations Oy provide significant business potential in the ecological urban environments of the future, where solutions that increase the wellbeing and safety of people and reduce emissions will have the sharpest competitive edge,” says Outi Suomi, CleanWeb Program Manager.
Economic driving is also beneficial for the environment, since a ten per cent reduction in fuel consumption translates into a major decrease in emissions. Active monitoring can help to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent. This results in significantly improved fuel economy and road safety. The software can be installed in most heavy vehicles with no additional equipment.
Originating in VTT’s heavy traffic research projects, the inventions of EEE Innovations have been piloted in Finland and in one EU-level project. The development project has received funding from Business Finland’s CleanWeb program.
Text: Sirpa Mustonen