Every winter many motorists get caught out by slippy conditions, with black ice causing havoc on untreated surfaces. But what if your car could tell you where these treacherous patches of road are?
Well, that could be a possibility soon on new Audi models thanks to ‘car-to-X’ technology, which essentially means vehicles can ‘communicate’ with each other.
The latest models from this German brand are already equipped with “local hazard alerts”, which can tell motorists of any incidents ahead – such as a broken-down vehicle or a crash. But soon road ice will be added to this list.
That’s because vehicles will be able to measure the friction between the tyres and roads, using signals from the suspension, wheel speed and acceleration. This will essentially sense when there is a slip on a wheel or a loss of grip, with this information then uploaded to the ‘cloud’ and can then be shared to other Audi drivers to alert them to poor conditions. The firm says that they will be alerted on the digital cockpit system or head-up display.
Known as ‘swarm intelligence’, the greater the number of cars with the technology fitted, the safer the roads will be. However, across Europe, more than 1.7m cars already have this level of capability, and this is expected to reach three million in 2022, with models from other Volkswagen Group brands – Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Volkswagen, Porsche and Lamborghini also having this capability.
Audi says the technology isn’t just about helping drivers, though, as it states that councils may be able to use the technology to see which roads they need to grit and also the surfaces that need snow ploughing.
The car’s driver assistance systems can also precondition themselves to adapt for the roads, while the navigation system is able to provide a more realistic arrival time – given journey times will be longer in worse conditions.