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Bosch launches road condition alert service for self-driving vehicles

It will rely on weather forecast data and info uploaded by autonomous vehicles.

Today, Bosch has introduced a predictive road condition service that can help make sure self-driving vehicles remain safe even on wet and icy roads. The company says the technology can give automated vehicles that seat-of-the-pants feel -- you know that sensation when you're on the driver's seat that tells you the road's condition? That one. Bosch management board member Dr. Dirk Hoheisel says the service can alert AVs to hazards "before critical situations can develop."

The technology takes multiple possible weather forecast scenarios from Finnish company Foreca into consideration, so a vehicle that uses it knows how and where it can drive autonomously. Bosch says this can prevent vehicles from having to hand over controls to a human driver at the first sign of poor road conditions. Of course, that only applies to vehicles that still have steering wheels and systems that haven't reached Level 4 or 5 autonomous driving capabilities yet.

When Bosch rolls out its road condition alert service in 2020, it will rely entirely on Foreca's weather information. In the future, though, it will also take data shared by self-driving cars using the technology into account. The system will upload temperatures inside and outside vehicles, as well as other information such as whether their windshield wipers are in use and how many times their anti-skid system got activated, to Bosch's cloud. In other words, the technology is bound to become more accurate and reliable as more and more automated vehicles make their way to public roads.