Škoda Turns to Swarm Technology for Consumer Safety

Škoda has begun using swarm connectivity among its consumers cars to warn fellow motorists of upcoming problems on their routes.

Its ‘Local Hazard Information Service’ claims to provide drivers connected to the system with detailed information about current road conditions. By collecting and evaluating anonymous vehicle data, the system is able to warn of approaching hazards such as slippery or damaged road surfaces via the infotainment system, actively increasing safety in the process.

Accelerometers and ABS sensors measuring the acceleration and braking of the car capture data continuously during each journey. Meanwhile, virtual sensors estimate the friction between the tires and the road surface based on wheel slip. The combined data is anonymised and transmitted to the cloud, where aggregated information from all connected vehicles is paired with metadata, such as weather information or previous measurements. This data can be displayed as a precise three-dimensional model of the road network that is used to send alerts to vehicles when they find themselves approaching or within an area with bad road surfaces.

If a connected vehicle encounters icy conditions, for example, the driver will be alerted via the vehicle’s infotainment system based on information acquired by the car itself. This information is then anonymously transmitted via the Car-to-Cloud application, alerting nearby drivers – the more connected cars that encounter the affected road, the more ‘swarm’ data is produced and the more accurate the maps, information and driver alerts will become.

Over the course of 2021, more than 1.7 million Volkswagen Group vehicles in Europe will supply data, a figure set to rise to more than three million by the end of 2022. The ‘Local Hazard Information Service’ is available for the Enyaq iV, Fabia, Kamiq, Kodiaq, Octavia, Scala and Superb and is part of Škoda Connect services. The service can be used in 30 countries, provided that the vehicle features the Amundsen or Columbus infotainment system.

Sebastian Lasek, head of product line connectivity at Škoda, said: “The system uses the car’s sensors to detect challenging road conditions in advance. To this end, the ‘Local Hazard Information Service’ increases active safety for drivers and passengers. We are continuously developing our connectivity services to offer our customers extra safety features and even more convenience.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *