Mapping company Here wants to combine the data from sensors in Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz cars to generate real-time information on road conditions and accidents.
The company intends to use the data generated by the onboard sensors in connected vehicles to create a live view of road conditions, which can then be used by other drivers to find out about traffic and potential hazards (including accidents and extreme weather events), or to help them find a parking space.
Here said the services will be available to customers in and outside the automotive industry from the first half of 2017.
Traffic information services available to drivers largely rely on GPS probe data -- regular location information reported from a connected device.
But instead of using data from smartphones (which is how services like Waze generate data), Here effectively wants to crowdsource services from the much richer data generated by sensors embedded in cars.
The company will start by using the data from cars made by its backers, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, but plans to expand to include data from other brands in due course.
Here will use sensor data related to the speed, direction, and location of a vehicle, and hard braking. It will record data on roadworks, lane closures, and accidents as detected by the vehicle's forward-facing camera. It will record hazard light usage, plus weather and road conditions -- as determined, for example, by rain sensors, heavy use of windshield wipers, loss of tyre traction or fog light usage. It will also gather traffic sign information, including permanent and temporary speed limits.
Here processes data from each vehicle, combines this with information from other devices, vehicles, and infrastructure, and then distributes this to vehicles using its services.
Four services are planned: a real-time traffic service; a hazard warning service with information on accidents and extreme weather events; a road signs system with data on permanent and temporary speed limits; as well as an on-street parking service that will give time-to-park estimates for each street.
Once the services are switched on there's no involvement from the driver. And while handing over data on location, speed and other travel details may worry some drivers, Here said that the data it plans to use from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles will be "anonymized with no personal identifiers" so as to ensure privacy for drivers.