Copyright 2013 Optical Sensors
New generation of Road Weather Stations
Road safety information wanted

At some weather conditions the number of traffic accidents increases considerably.
It is well known that a large part of the total number of accidents occur at slippery road conditions. And in some regions collisions with many cars involved because of fog take place frequently.

Road keepers install Road Weather Stations (RWS) because they need information about the two main weather associated factors that have impact on the road safety.
- Road state - slippery road condition or not
- Visibility
This information is needed for optimising road maintenance and also for making decisions about speed limits using variable signs etc.

General purpose weather stations are of limited value
A general purpose weather station that informs about for instance temperature, humidity, wind velocity and direction and air pressure does not give the safety related information directly. It has been evident that this kind of information is of limited value for the road safety.

New trend
There is a new generation of intelligent weather stations coming up for giving more relevant information to road keepers and indirectly to the road users. The key sensors in such a weather station are:
- Road state sensor
- Visibility sensor
- Digital camera
Some cheap standard weather sensors for temperature and humidity etc are also parts of the system.
The pictures from the digital camera can be used for other things like estimating the number of vehicles passing per time unit which is also an important parameter for the road keeper when setting speed limits etc.
Two of our innovative low price weather sensors are important parts of these new generation weather stations and they are developed with that in mind namely the Road eye LD and the OFS (or MiniOFS).
A typical New Generation Road Weather Station sends data and pictures via a wireless network like GPRS or 3G.
It is a goal to keep the power consumption low. The reason is that if it is low enough solar cells and/or other alternatives like wind generators or even fuel cells can be considered. Also batteries to be changed when performing maintenance may then be an alternative.
Connection to a power line is in many cases is expensive (digging for cables …)
This Road Weather Station can be delivered by http://www.harvest.com/fwroadside.htm
Economy
Since some time sensors for road state and visibility have been available. But they have been so expensive that the road keepers have hesitated. The prices of visibility sensors and road state sensors have often been higher than the rest of a general purpose weather station.
Both our road state sensor and our visibility sensors are cheaper than their competitors making it possible to lower the price of the "New generation Road Weather Stations" considerably.