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Ice sensors in cars warn of slippery roads

Posting in Science

Sometimes it's obvious when a road is slippery. Other times you can't tell until your car has already begun swerving out of control. Now researchers in Finland have developed technology to make driving when there's black ice a little less treacherous.

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland developed a slippery road detection system that uses your cars sensors to monitor road conditions and inform the driver and other drivers that there are slippery roads ahead, before the driver can even sense a change. Instead of relying on general weather forecasts, drivers can get real time insights into the roads they're driving on.

"The method entails estimating the difference in the speeds of the drive shaft and freely rotating axles in various driving situations, which enables deduction of the level of friction," said Kimmo Erkkilä, a senior scientist at VTT. Using the system, road conditions can be determined after driving only a few kilometers.

As multiple drivers use the slippery detection system, a real time map of road conditions can be created for drivers to prepare before they get on the road. I imagine it will also help driverless cars navigate wintery conditions.

VTT is currently in negotiations to commercialize the system.

[via Science Daily]

Photo: Flickr/fs999

— By on January 25, 2013, 5:45 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure