Haptic Sensation for Autonomous Vehicles Warns of Road Risks


Sensing system and wireless communication network for automated vehicles / Photo by Shutterstock


Automated vehicles need data about road-weather conditions to predict potential road hazards. With this in mind, researchers at Bosch plan to deliver predictive road-condition services using haptic sensations. 

Bosch, an engineering and electronics company in Germany, will work with a weather service provider in Finland, Foreca to make the idea a reality. Foreca will use its equipment to supplement the road-condition data needed by the developers at Bosch to test haptic sensation on autonomous vehicles. 

“Combining the expertise of Foreca and Bosch will lead to a new era of road-condition forecasting. Unlike weather forecasts in the media, the Bosch road-condition services take multiple possible forecast scenarios into consideration,” stated Petri Marjava, sales director at Foreca. 

The main concept revolves around sending a strong signal to the driver, notifying them about unfavorable road situations. Once the road-weather data has reached a self-driving car, the driver will feel specific sensation or seat-of-the-pants feel, depending on the state of the road surface or the condition of the car, including the state of the tires. So, owners of AV with this new system will feel haptic feedback when the vehicle drives on ice-covered or wet roads, or when the tires start to lose their grip on the road surface. 

"We are helped here by the weather data provided by our partner Foreca. This means an automated vehicle will know exactly where it can drive autonomously, and how,” stated Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, a Bosch management board member. 

While the launch is estimated around 2020, certain elements have been mentioned by Bosch: 

- Improves the decision-making of AVs in selecting roads for self-driving.

- Precise prediction of hazardous conditions is calculated using the most accurate road-weather data.

- Evaluation of the Electronic Stability Program or ESP anti-skid system in AVs. 

- Integration of all data types utilized by the vehicle, including temperature and windshield wipes.