Toyota Wants Your Car To Deliver Weather Forecasts

Toyota is taking the ‘connected car’ phenomenon seriously. It believes the cars of the future will help to predict weather conditions simply via their windscreen wipers…

Always Bring The Weather

Your car’s windscreen wipers may soon be able to help with the weather forecast. Toyota believes that connected cars will be able to provide meteorologists with local weather data; helping to create a broader and more accurate understanding of conditions across an entire country. In addition, this information could be used to improve driver safety via the introduction of weather-specific speeding and traffic restrictions. The Japanese automaker has already paired up with Weathernews in Japan to monitor windscreen wipers in connected cars.

Toyota has described the concept as “a brilliantly simple idea”. Drivers activate their wipers in response to rain or poor weather conditions; the speed is almost always a reflection of the severity of them at the time. A handful of cars using their wipers could indicate the use of windscreen wash. But when dozens or hundreds of them are using them, it probably signifies something meteorological. According to Toyota, contemporary rain cloud radar technologies are often inaccurate in detecting lighter showers. As a result, connected vehicles might be able to detect conditions that would otherwise go undetected. Working in conjunction with Weathernew’s 13,000 location-strong observation network, it’s hoped that the vehicles will provide an extra layer of data.

Improving Safety

It’s not just a question of using connected cars to determine if you need an umbrella or not. Toyota wants to use connected vehicles to make our roads safer. In their native Japan, for instance, accidents are four times more likely on motorways when it’s raining. But there are other applications, too. Most Toyota models launched since 2018 possess an in-built communication module. This means they can effectively ‘warn’ other vehicles of dangerous road conditions. For instance, it could relay information of a traffic jam to other vehicles before they’ve reached it; or of the presence of black ice on a stretch of road. All of this means the technology could be used for more effective route-planning as well; allowing motorists to by-pass the most congested roads and take the strain off of infrastructure.

Whilst the idea of ‘smart’ windscreens might not be particularly exciting in of themselves, they do illustrate the potential of connected cars. Collectively, we cover millions (if not billions) of miles. That’s a lot of data, and a lot of it is going to be used to make our lives easier and safer.

6.5 Million Cars In The UK Have Faulty Windscreen Wipers –

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