Vaisala's Road Weather Station RWS200 helps to monitor the state of the road surface on the E8 road in Muonio. The station observes, whether the surface is dry, wet, icy or snowy, and provides information on its temperature as well as wind and visibility conditions on the road. The Road Weather Station is part of the Aurora Smart Road, implemented by the Finnish Transport Agency and equipped to fit research and development needs in the field of smart transport. Information on the road surface state is crucial for researching and developing automatization, supported driving and maintenance in arctic traffic. The data will be gathered in Finnish Transport Agency's Digitraffic service, where it is available for all experimenters.
Vaisala and Finnish Meteorological institute (FMI) installed the Road Weather Station in Muonio in November 2017. Finnish Transport Agency is responsible for the infrastructure required by the station, such as electricity and foundation.
Finland is covered in snow for about 3-8 months in a year. Thus we need to ensure that automated vehicles are safe and road maintenance up-to-date even during these challenging winter months also in the future.
"The Road Weather Station is now part of the smart infrastructure of the Aurora Smart Road that includes smart roadside markings, high resolution maps and location information. In addition to the smart road infrastructure, the arctic environment and its requirements make the project unique. We are happy to support and participate in developing this important field. Vaisala is also a member of the international Aurora Network, in which we look for partners in order to develop our Road Weather Station and services for the automated transportation of the future," tells Iiro Salkari from Vaisala.
"The Aurora Road Weather Station provides also great support for the smart traffic research conducted by FMI," continues Senior Researcher, Dr. Timo Sukuvaara from FMI. The station in Muonio is integrated with FMI's smart traffic infrastructure in Sodankylä. Together they form a sound basis for the R&D work of FMI and the Aurora ecosystem.
The Aurora Smart Road provides an open and versatile test environment for everyone working with R&D and aiming to develop smart traffic. The Smart Road makes it possible to develop new solutions to fit the needs of smart transport, automated driving and smart road asset control.
According to the Director of Aurora Network Reija Viinanen, Vaisala's Road Weather Station is an excellent example of how the smart road serves the development of new solutions. "The Road Weather Station was set up in collaboration and offers real-time weather information from the smart road. All experimenters are welcome to use the data," says Viinanen.
The test environment is public and open for all interested organizations. From the test area, we can gather valuable information for developing efficient and safe infrastructure. The learnings are feasible also in a wider scope, for instance on E8. E8 sees a lot of heavy truck traffic from Norway to Finland, and indeed, there is collaboration over border with E8 Borealis, which is Aurora Smart Road's sister ecosystem in Norway.
In the future, automated traffic is expected to improve traffic safety, decrease road traffic emissions and make traffic more fluent.
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