Toyota ropes in weather guys to improve driver safety

By CARSIFU | 5 November 2019

TOKYO: Toyota has teamed up with a weather agency in a research project to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts and increase driver safety using the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data in Japan.

They have begun a verification test in Tokyo, Osaka, and Aichi on Nov 1, in which the conditions of roads and their surroundings are assessed using the operating status of windshield wipers, as well as weather data. The idea is to improve driver safety by combining Weathernews' weather data with the vehicle data obtained from Toyota's connected cars.

In the test, the wiper operating status of Toyota's connected cars being driven in the designated regions is visualised as a map and compared with actual weather data. Because wiper operating status typically corresponds to the presence or absence of rainfall, using wiper data has the potential to allow detection of precipitation that cannot be detected by standard raincloud radar.

The test would seek to analyse the relationship between the wiper data and weather data, with the aim of detecting conditions that could affect wiper operation in addition to detecting precipitation.

Statistics from Metropolitan Expressway Company Ltd, a highway management company in Japan, have shown that the rate of accidents during rainy weather is four times that of sunny days.

With the launch of the Crown and Corolla Sport in June last year, Toyota has begun a full-scale rollout of connected cars. In future, nearly all passenger cars that are launched domestically will have an on-board Data Communication Module (DCM).

Driver safety would be improved by distributing such useful emergency information derived from weather data and data from connected vehicles, said Toyota.

In addition to its own observation network at 13,000 locations nationwide, Weathernews makes use of 180,000 weather reports a day from users to provide accurate weather forecasts.