BMW to use innovative road condition sensor technology

BMW to use innovative road condition sensor technology

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The tactile sensor technology comes from startup company Tactile Mobility (Haifa, Israel). This company announces the conclusion of a commercial partnership with BMW – with the aim of embedding this technology in BMW vehicles from next year. For Tactile Mobility, this is one of the first commercial successes with vehicle OEMs – and certainly the most important to date.

Tactile Mobility’s technology will enable vehicle manufacturers to improve the performance of their cars. To do this, the company uses “non-visual” sensors in the vehicles – it was not possible to find out more precise details at first; presumably these are vibration and motion sensors in the chassis and wheel suspensions. This data is forwarded to a control unit which uses Tactile Mobility’s software to determine, among other things, the road condition and grip of the road surface – in real time, of course. The software uses a vehicle-specific behavioural model called VehicleDNA.

This model processes, among other things, suspension, drive train, brake efficiency and tyre condition. This VehicleDNA is fused with a virtual mapping layer of road attributes (“SurfaceDNA”). This data is stored in a cloud and updated regularly. SurfaceDNA provides a detailed view of the driving environment to better anticipate road conditions before driving and to pre-configure vehicle systems. Based on this data, the vehicle can adjust the performance settings to the road conditions and, for example, automatically apply throttle and brake more carefully on slippery roads.

Tactile Mobility’s technology collects what the company calls “first principle”, crucial, anonymized real-time data generated from vehicles’ non-visual, existing sensors and turns it into actionable insights on road attributes including grades, grip, and curvatures.

Not only car users can benefit from Tactile’s technology, but also third parties ©Tactile Mobility

The insights provided by Tactile Mobility are intended to improve vehicle intelligence and driving safety, efficiency and experience, and enable new and more valuable data to be obtained to identify hazards in near real-time. In addition, the anonymised data provided by the Tactile Cloud provides road operators with information on danger spots or necessary maintenance work.

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