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Method for Dynamic Road Status Information Conveyance Under Inclement Conditions Disclosure Number: IPCOM000177535D
Original Publication Date: 2008-Dec-17
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2008-Dec-17
Document File: 4 page(s) / 39K

Publishing Venue



This invention discloses methods for providing to drivers real-time information on road conditions in inclement weather. Specifically, it seeks to convey information about the location of snow plows, as well as the location of recently plowed or unplowed roads, to users based on a variety of mechanisms. Additionally, the precise nature of the road cleaning activity (e.g. salt, sand, scraping) may be conveyed. Participants in this method may also contribute to a crowd-sourcing determination of snow on roads as determined by cameras on cars that monitor road whiteness and albedo (reflection of light).

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Method for Dynamic Road Status Information Conveyance Under Inclement Conditions

Today, techniques are known by which snow plows convey their position, and techniques are also known by which road conditions are broadcast via a centralized web facility.

Note that the use of beacon devices to track snowplows is known. Currently, such data is used by a central dispatcher to ensure that plows are on their appointed courses and within a defined schedule window.

Furthermore, methods of reporting traffic conditions--either due to accidents, construction, or inclement weather--through aggregation of data and presentation in a website is also known.

It may also be noted that increasingly, mesh networks between vehicles may be employed to convey traffic conditions from car to car.

Despite these information sources, certain dynamic information is not available to drivers. Of particular interest in this invention is the case where a snowplow is moving through a particular roadway, and conditions are dynamically changing behind that plow over time.

Additionally, drivers may be interested in the

                                       of the road cleaning activity (e.g. salt, sand, scraping). For example, salt can sometimes be a corrosive agent to a car's undercarriage, and users may with to avoid exposure to such treatments above a threshold level for a season. Also, drivers may judge that certain road-cleaning methods are more effective in preventing accidents than others, depending on the driver's car, tires, driving skill level, etc.

Note that the tracking beacons applied to snow plows may show a moment-in-time picture of where a plow is at a given moment. One may surmise that this positional information, combined with knowledge of the general direction of the plow, presents a relative picture of the road's passability. In other words, it is rightfully assumed that roads behind the plow may be safer to traverse than roads in front of the plow (which have not yet been cleared). But this "safer than uncleared roads" state is--as mentioned--relative. What may a commuter surmise about a road which has been plowed five, or thirty-five minutes previously?

Presentation to commuters of more intelligent data is appropriate and possible through the invention outlined here. Such data allows drivers to make more informed decisions under inclement conditions.

The following elements allow collection and dissemination of relevant information:

Means of detecting transient positional information of plows or other treatment vehicles:
- Positional and directional information is recorded for plows either continuously or at


precise nature

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given points of time, using either GPS or other Location Based Services (LBS)
- Positional and directional information is recorded for plows using inferred conditions, i.e., a known route and schedule may be used as the basis for assum...