Slowly but surely, we’re inching closer to our visions of a Jetsonian future: An automotive giant is now using connected cars to crowdsource information on dangerous road conditions. Inrix, one of the world’s leading providers of traffic data, has created a product called Road Weather, which aggregates data from a car’s GPS location, brake sensors, fog lights, and thermometers inside Internet-connected cars, and combines them with publicly available weather and climate information.
The end result? To generate more accurate hazard reports for both trucking companies and everyday drivers. Down the road, this could also serve as another omnipresent data stream for use in autonomous and self-driving cars.
“We are pioneering the connected car,” Steve Banfield, the chief marketing officer for Inrix, told IEEE Spectrum. “Today we are alerting a human driver, but it will be of incredible value to automated driving when that comes.”
Inrix’s promotional video gives a good idea of how the product works:
According to IEEE Spectrum, car manufacturers will shoulder the cost of the app for now. But there’s a catch: Drivers won’t have direct access to data gathered through Road Weather for a little while. Inrix sees the program as a data acquisition method for automakers, government agencies, and third-party app makers to integrate into their own products, but the functionality will be added to their consumer-facing Inrix Traffic app in the near future.
[via IEEE Spectrum]
Update: This article was updated to reflect Inrix’s plans to add crowdsourced weather functionality to their consumer app.