Toyota Thinks Connected Wiper Data Can Improve Weather Forecasts

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
toyota thinks connected wiper data can improve weather forecasts

Toyota and Japanese weather information provider Weathernews Inc. have been running tests aimed at improving the accuracy of rain forecasts by using driving data from connected cars — or, more specifically, their windshield wipers. Based on the assumption that wiper operations correspond with the presence of precipitation, matching the severity to speed settings, the pair feel they can leverage customer information to close info gaps created by low-altitude rain clouds that are difficult to track.

With an official announcement issued earlier this month, both companies are framing this as an effective way to bolster roadway safety and offer new services to its customers. But it also raises the usual round of privacy concerns re: connected vehicles, while potentially offering some interesting and useful features — like localized flood warnings and other traffic advisories.

From Weathernews:

In recent years, the growing severity of weather phenomena and the resulting damage have become a societal issue, and there is an unprecedented demand for local, immediate weather information, as well as information on how to respond. To meet these needs, it is necessary to determine more detailed and accurate weather conditions in real-time. However, existing weather observation tools have limitations in their installation locations and measurement intervals.

Meanwhile, the development of IoT technology has ushered in an age where various devices are equipped with communication functions. The same is true for vehicles, and by gathering driving data and condition data from connected vehicles equipped with IoT technology, it is possible to detect phenomena that could impact their driving and behavior.

Potentially, sure, but amassing enough useful data to allow meteorologist to start making useful assumptions will take time. In the short term, the only real benefit you could expect is more accurate forecasting for your immediate area.

Basically, your car transmits data to Toyota and the bit about whether or not you’ve got your wipers on is then forwarded to Weathernews. The data also works in tandem with information collected an existing meteorological observation network of some 13,000 locations across Japan. The duo have also put together an AI algorithm that predicts flooded locations on roads, with verification testing taking place in October — suggesting they’ll be able to do more than simply let people know how hard its raining.

For now, it’s limited to Japan. Toyota aims to have the brunt of its fleet connected to the internet as soon as possible, meaning there’s nothing stopping these kinds of data partnerships from spreading to other markets. We’ll let you debate whether or not that’s desirable.

[Image: What Photo/Shutterstock]

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  • Ravenuer Ravenuer on Nov 12, 2019

    "Based on the assumption that wiper operations correspond with the presence of precipitation.....". I'm truly in awe of these guys.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 12, 2019

    OEM's: If the vehicle is smart enough to turn the wipers on when it is raining, it should also turn the headlights on when the wipers are on. Thank you.

  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.