Automotive

Toyota using connected cars' windshield wipers for weather reports

Toyota using connected cars' w...
Data is gathered from the vehicles anonymously
Data is gathered from the vehicles anonymously
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Data is gathered from the vehicles anonymously
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Data is gathered from the vehicles anonymously
One of the windshield-wiper rain maps – orange indicates wipers operating, gray indicates them not operating, and red circles indicate reports of rain
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One of the windshield-wiper rain maps – orange indicates wipers operating, gray indicates them not operating, and red circles indicate reports of rain

One of the benefits of driving a "connected" car is the ability to receive warnings of hazardous weather conditions on the road ahead. Toyota is now looking at improving the accuracy of such warnings, by monitoring what vehicles' windshield wipers are up to.

For the new project, the automaker has teamed up with Japanese company Weathernews. The latter provides users with weather reports via an app, although as is the case with weather reports in general, these aren't always 100-percent accurate at determining where it is and is not currently raining.

With that in mind, Toyota has begun remotely monitoring the operating status of the windshield wipers on connected vehicles in designated regions of Japan. When it isn't raining, obviously, the wipers will be off. When it is raining, though, the level of precipitation can be gauged by the intensity to which the wipers are set.

This data will be compiled into the form of a rain map of each region, then compared to radar-based Weathernews reports for those same regions.

One of the windshield-wiper rain maps – orange indicates wipers operating, gray indicates them not operating, and red circles indicate reports of rain
One of the windshield-wiper rain maps – orange indicates wipers operating, gray indicates them not operating, and red circles indicate reports of rain

It is hoped that by comparing the maps to the reports, it will be possible to gain a better understanding of how the radar data corresponds to what's really happening on the ground, resulting in an improvement of the accuracy of the reports. Additionally, the reports may end up actually incorporating windshield wiper data on an ongoing basis.

Testing of the system started this Friday (Nov. 1st) in the cities of Tokyo and Osaka, and the region of Aichi.

Source: Toyota

1 comment
Wolf0579
The only hitch I can see is that a growing number of people, myself included, are using silicone products on their windshield, which cause water to bead up and roll off the window surface. I rarely use my wipers... only in hurricane-level downpours.