ImprovinG the efficiency Of saLt-spreaDing (de-icing) sErvices and emergeNcy call managment on winter professional vehiCles using Egnos
Background & Objectives
The AIPCR-PIARC committee for the international Winter Road Congress has used ‘Sustainable Winter Service for Road Users’ as the theme of the XIII Winter International Congress in Quebec in 2010. The same committee has highlighted the importance of increasing the effort on advanced winter service technologies and information systems, so as to be able to integrate traffic management and emergency management, online/real-time information of road users, and new developments/applications for an improved winter road management.
The most common winter services are mainly salt spreading (throughout the season) and snow ploughs (in the case of snowfall); the most commonly used de-icing substance is sodium chloride (NaCl). However, all types of services and de-icing strategies are becoming more and more demanding in terms of requirement. Salt-spreading is in fact strictly related to road safety due to the environmental impact (more salt means damage to the environment) and social costs (salt is becoming quite expensive). Heavy snow events and major sub-zero temperatures Europe-wide have amplified such problems connected to roads and highway management.
In order to address these problems, GOLDEN-ICE has created a consortium of private companies and research centres which are able to integrate high technical skills and close-to-market commercial members.
The overall architecture of GOLDEN-ICE can be summarised as follows:
- Development of a new innovative On Board Unit (OBU) based on an embedded system with a new hardware and firmware version able to exchange information with the commercial spreading/snow plough control box. The OBU will enable automatic spreading control and it will integrate GSM/GPRS/CAN Bus features with a GPS chipset and a shock sensor. It is important to note that the OBU will consider GNSS chipsets employing EGNOS. EGNOS will also be integrated at the control centre level (integration with EDAS) in case of outage of geostationary satellite visibility.
- Development of Monitor/PDA at the driver level allowing a proper HMI. The HMI will integrate custom navigation features, able to control the spreading/plough control box in real time according to the information coming from the operational centre.
- Development of a new server solution which is able to integrate raw GPS measurements (sent by OBU) with EGNOS/EDAS following the paradigm of Local Element (network-assisted processing) exploiting and proving the EGNOS benefits.
- Integration of an emergency button allowing driver-generated emergency calls.
- Development of a customised PSAP able to collect emergency calls generated from winter service vehicles and development of middleware able to integrate the winter vehicles’ server and the PSAP.
The overall objective of GOLDEN-ICE is to evolve the ARVEL and SAET solutions in order to generate a technological added-value for the ARVEL products leveraging on new ‘green and secure’ applications. No products on the market have been developed with the specific purpose of optimising salt spreading in terms of reducing the impact on the environment, as well as reducing the quantity (and so cost) of the de-icing substances.
GPS-based fleet management systems are quite standard but are only able to allow a partial real-time control over the professional vehicles at the control centre level. GOLDEN-ICE intends to evolve from this system by generating a solution based on EGNOS, which will enable new services that impact on salt-spreading management. Salting will then have a reduced environmental impact associated with an increased degree of security for citizens. There is then the need to set up advanced operational centres able to optimise salt-spreading and navigation management of professional vehicles, as well as increasing the security of road operations and citizens by introducing the emergency call paradigms on such professional vehicles.
Work performed & results
GOLDEN-ICE will provide a very important benefit for customers, and in particular a salt-spreading solution compliant with the morphology of the road, which will enable a cost and salt-use reduction, optimising the salt quantity (in real time) in order to reduce the environmental impact and the overall de-icing material cost, and optimising road maintenance strategies by logging the areas where more de-icing substances have been spread correlated to the kind of asphalt (i.e. corrosion prevention).
Real-time control and management of the professional fleet of winter trucks means a better management of the winter services and an increase in performance, and the introduction of emergency calls to the professional vehicles increases the rescue efficiency, hence more safety for citizens.
The following list of estimated results is related to the measurable objectives:
- Percentage of salt quantity reduction through intelligent spreading: 20%;
- Reduction of time-to-rescue of a professional vehicle: 30%;
- Accuracy in vehicle positioning: less than 10m (1-sigma);
- Accuracy with precise positioning (EGNOS/EDAS): less than 5m (1-sigma);
- Estimated acceptance of at least 8 (over a scale of 0-10 from interviews with users after trials).