In September 2015 the „Digital Test Field Motorway” project has been started officially by the Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrinth and takes place on the motorway A9 between Munich and Nuremberg. Through this project the Federal Government wants to strengthen the innovative lead of Germany in the frame of the initiative “Mobility 4.0”. Automatic driving and connected vehicles will depend considerably on environmental weather conditions. In addition, these conditions can show extreme differences along a single street section. The exact information about the different characteristics of routes and weather conditions as well as their forecast are crucial for the road maintenance and winter service. In the future winter service will presumably become automated and connected.
This is why we detect route data on the A9 motorway test field and on other roads by means of the mobile road sensor MARWIS within a research project on behalf of the BMVI (Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) represented by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt). This research project is carried out by MicKS together with the private weather service meteoblue from Basel from Fellbach and conducted by myself. The project aims to determine route and weather conditions of particular street sections with the help of the mobile road sensor MARWIS. The MARWIS will detect the specific characteristics of the street section with an accuracy of a few meters. This data will help us to create a spatial high-resolution forecast of road conditions and imminent icy conditions.
With the support of the central Traffic Operating Department (ZFB) at the Motorway Directorate of Northern Bavaria (ABDN) plus the energetically help of the Motorway Directorate of Greding, Germany, two patrol cars collect route data on a daily basis. A further test field is supported by the road maintenance depot of Viechtach in a similar manner. Another MARWIS sensor owned and applied by the BASt supervises the A4 between Cologne and Olpe. In case of extraordinary weather situations the researchers have two additional vehicles at their disposal. The vehicles are equipped with a flexible IceCar 4.0 solution that can be installed whenever needed. Thereby MARWIS detects road surface temperature, water film height, ice percentage, friction (tyre traction) and the road condition (wet, ice and snow). The WS301 weather sensor with global radiation, air temperature as well as dew point temperature sensors completes the MARWIS data. With an additional radiation sensor the radiation balance can be measured right above the road surface. Once per second, the data is transmitted directly to a cloud server through a mobile network. This ensures spatial resolution of the measured data with an accuracy of 15…20 meters.
First evaluations show clearly that with the help of these sensors the effect on route and environmental conditions can be determined with minimal spatial expansion. Even special locations such as underpasses, bridges or forest routes showing quite different conditions can be identified and quantified.