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Ice detector

Monitors road surface for ice
  [vote for,

Unit uses non-contact methods to determine the temperature of the surface and the presence of ice as well as the precense of anti-icing compounds. The user will have a bar graph display showing a graphical representation of the current road surface condition ranging from good to poor.
amuron, Nov 29 2002

(?) Baked http://www.ssiweath...itsmenu.asp?citem=6
[egnor, Oct 04 2004]


       This is certainly a step up on the classic simple air temperature gauge behind the front grille.   

       Infra red reflectance could check for the presence of ice (change in albedo) although how it would deal with different surfaces (tarmac, concrete) is an interesting problem. IR passive sensing would give the true surface temperature.   

       But to be a real asset this needs to have a significant "look - ahead" capability, like weather radar, giving you the chance to slow down if there's ice ahead.
8th of 7, Nov 29 2002

       I've actually thought on this for quite a while, especially while waiting for a tow truck. The different surfaces are handled by multiple wavebands of IR spectra, plus anti-ice compounds are detected in yet another method I can't talk about. This data combined with standard wide band IR temperature measurement should allow for a wide range of measurements. I wouldn't see this as a consumer item due to cost, but for those of us with 300 mile bi-weekly trips or truck drivers, I can't see why it wouldn't fly. I hope someone finds a serious hole in my reasoning, if they don't, the next time I run into the ditch without building one of these proto ice detectors, I'll be really mad. :-)   

       Concerning look ahead, yes it would be helpful, but here in the rural midwest US, one often times one runs on icey roads for quite a while before taking a ride into the wild blue yonder. I keep an eye on the county lines, as usually one finds significant differences on road condition from county to county. Often times the only way to find out conditions is the standard brake test, but many times its too late. One could always use a wideband IR unit for look ahead, but there are problems with other vehciles, and field of view.
amuron, Nov 29 2002

       Experience with black ice has always been 'by the time you see it, it's too late'.
rbl, Nov 29 2002

       Hence the need for the "look-ahead" feature.
8th of 7, Nov 29 2002

       I talked with a professional truck driver today. He agrees with me that one can drive on ice for miles, and then encounter a gust of wind, or rough road, and all of a sudden $%^!*&^^*..... He was very interested in this device, and thought the look ahead feature while useful, was not as important to him as knowing what the current road condition is.   

       I can see the point that rbl makes about black ice. In my area of the US, its pretty rare. I'm more likely to run into an area that has not been treated, or that has been exposed for too long a period and the freezing point starts to rise again. Often times such areas do not provide any visual clue, only seat of the pants and thats not all that accurate either in gusting conditions of if I'm in a car that does have a super tight suspension.   

       I appreciate the input from everyone here. Different markets have different needs and perceptions. It looks like I need to pursue the trucking industry to gather more information.
amuron, Dec 31 2002

       Whoops, missed the baked comment. I took a look. SSI has a lot of equipment in my area. It works most of the time, but they have units only every 20 miles of so, and non on rural roads. My unit would be mounted on the vehicle and provide data to the driver. SSI's system is for the DOT management functions primarily and will at some point tie into the RWIN system, but until Bill Gates gets internet access on a HUD in everyones car, the driver won't get the data in time.
amuron, Dec 31 2002


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