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Expedited emerge of Connected Car data ecosystems in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WAY2GO (Expedited emerge of Connected Car data ecosystems in Europe)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-03-31

RoadCloud Oy has developed an inexpensive road surface condition probe that, when fused together with vehicle dynamics measurements and GNSS data, provides continuous data on tyre-road friction. We retrofit our sensor and data collection system into vehicles with high daily mileage and operating hours up to 20 hours per day, such as taxis. This real-time road friction and vehicle data is sent to a cloud database and refined into information products for customers. Our key product is accurate and local real- time road weather information that is increasingly important when autonomous functions are becoming more popular, but already a very effective tool for road maintenance.

This project explored the potential of expediting the creation of Connected Car (CC) data ecosystems. This is relevant as Connected Car data ecosystem will improve traffic safety, reduce traffic jams, improve efficiency and reduce pollution from our traffic system. The effect on traffic safety is very clear: e.g. a vehicle in emergency braking can share its situation for road users approaching that particular road section. It will also expedite introduction of MAAS (Mobility as a service) by providing value from commercial fleets.

Currently data from road vehicles is available only for the automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), but data is owned by vehicle owner (car data is under e-privacy) that has no direct access to the data. If we wait that all this technology and data is available from new and luxury cars, it will take several decades before we actually see these benefits. By introducing RoadCloud’s retrofitted data gateways with permission of vehicle owners, we can significantly speed up the progress and draw OEMs along to spread the Connected Car technology faster.

Unexpected road slipperiness is a major cause of fatal traffic accidents and 22% of road crashes, > 1,2 million incidents /a, are due to weather conditions. Autonomous cars and active safety systems are emerging, and they must be able to identify different road conditions and operate safely in all-weather conditions. Road maintenance decision are currently done by spot wise measurements and based on yesterday forecasts. Billions of euros are used for road maintenance, but influence and quality of activities cannot be properly monitored.

The main objectives of the project were to find candidate cities and contacts within them by doing research and visiting the cities and the potential customers. The main outcome of the project is a large-scale pilot proposition for SME Phase 2.
The project lasted for 6 months and during that time the main deliverables of the project were achieved.
The first 2 months of the project were dedicated to searching candidate cities by internet search, exhibitions, network and social media. After finding and listing the candidate cities the next task was to find possible fleet partners, TIER 1 suppliers, automotive manufacturers and early adopters (traffic information infra, advanced ICT ecosystems). The high potential cities identified were Munich, Hamburg, Västerås, Gothernburg and Enköping. Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, the Netherlands and the US were also recognised as potential customer countries. In addition to these multiple OEM’s, TIER 1 and weather companies were contacted and discussions are on going.

The following two months were dedicated to reducing the number of potential cities by directly contacting relevant stakeholders. Searching for potential collaboration projects and initiatives about connected cars and autonomous driving car pilots. Assessing the ambition level of potential customers and their readiness to pay for our service. We activated this step by hiring sales agents in our high potential candidate countries, Germany and Denmark. The agents were informed of the company business plan and the aim was for them to use their expertise on the automotive and sales industries to find the company contacts, meetings, events and customers.

Through exploring the potential fleet partners, customers and city admiration RoadCloud has formed a business plan for the future which includes concrete actions to go on for the stakeholders. RoadCloud will continue growing in Scandinavia and will also create up-front coverage to Central Europe. RoadCloud is looking to set up a large-scale pilot in North America and is preparing for global scale up in the next 3 years. RoadCloud is determined to dominate the road weather data and car data market with our wide global data coverage.
Road are most valuable public assets in the world, and their condition is not systematically monitored. Predictive maintenance of road network requires up-to-date information.
Our customers are public road authorities (many ongoing projects), road maintenance operators (better efficiency with real time information), weather forecasting companies and all business customers in the field of road traffic information ecosystems (OEMs, HERE, Garmin, TomTom, Mediamobile, Google Maps, car makers). We are not planning to deliver information directly to consumers and we are keen on partners willing to do that.

Final value of Connecter Car applications is going to the society, industry, owners of vehicles and road users. However, our intension is not to provide information or services directly to consumers, but we plan to sell information to companies working with road weather and traffic information systems.
The overall plan to enter the market is to start providing data to road maintenance, because they already benefit from our local coverage at the beginning. When our geographical coverage increases, we start to attract new customers from traffic information providers.

In addition to the above estimations, there are much more optimistic figures available as well. They note that currently 70 % of sales come from premium auto-brands but may drop less than 50 % because of “many of today’s manufacturers and suppliers lack the skill, agility, and boldness to turn their companies digital quickly enough to take advantage of this change”. Clearly, the challenge for individual company is not the total market size, but to get a segment of it. We estimate that by 2024 we will have acquired a 19 % share of the total Connected Car total offering where the annual reoccurring revenue (ARR) of the market is 327 million euros. We justify high 19 % share by being one of the first non-OEM data providers and patent family (see IPR section for details) on road weather and data fusion that gives protection until 2028.

Currently there is no provider for anonymized real-time vehicle data. Some data about the movements of road users is available e.g. from navigator (both device and App providers) that can track their users. However, they mainly use information (travel times) to support their own systems and according to our sources the information is extremely expensive if one wants to buy it. It is also questionable if they even have right to even sell the information to third party. Google Waze collects input directly from their users e.g. about traffic jams, but the problem is that they are still local and user updates are very subjective and even false. It is also questionable to ask drivers to use their smart phone app while driving.
Future Vehicles need accurate information about upcoming road conditions