24th Conference on IIPS


A Next Generation of Observations based on Passenger Vehicles

Andrew D. Stern, Noblis, Inc., Falls Church, VA; and P. A. Pisano, P. J. Kennedy, K. R. Petty, and W. P. Mahoney

In the United States today, the near surface atmosphere is routinely sampled by only a couple thousand automated airport weather stations. Even coupled with remote sensing technologies and privately owned mesonets, the number of observations collected is very small given the scale and many complexities found in the planetary boundary layer and the near surface. So, other than deploying multiple thousands of in situ observation platforms or improved space-based technologies, can the weather community possibly obtain a much denser network of observations? The answer is yes, and one does not have to go farther than the garage for the solution!

Imagine a nation where millions of privately owned automobiles are equipped with transceivers that are able to transmit snapshots of the onboard sensors and safety systems to a nationwide infrastructure connected by high speed data hubs. Even the most common components of the passenger vehicle can begin to tell a story about the near Earth atmospheric and pavement conditions through the intelligent utilization of vehicle data elements such as windshield wiper state, external air temperature or the status of an anti-lock breaking system. Is this in the realm of science fiction? Not at the U.S Department of Transportation (USDOT) and a consortium of automotive manufacturers.

Today, a USDOT initiative called Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) is moving toward obtaining these capabilities. Automobile companies are working on equipment that can send to and receive messages from the roadside while the federal government and states are looking at strategies for deploying the roadside communications infrastructure. During the late fall of 2007 and winter of 2008, the first testbed for VII-enabled vehicles will be exercised in Detroit. A similar testbed is being constructed in northern California. And the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will be working on research to evaluate and validate the viability of using vehicle-based sensor data to create potentially millions of new weather and pavement condition observations.

This paper will provide details of the FHWA Road Weather Management Program's efforts to conduct surface transportation weather research in this new paradigm of vehicle-based observations.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (580K)

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 8, Advances and Applications in Surface Transportation Weather (Continued)
Thursday, 24 January 2008, 11:00 AM-12:15 PM, 207

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