Intelligent sat-nav being tested in Europe

A new development by the University of Leicester could change the way navigation systems handle heavy vehicles routing.

The university developed a device to provide route planning and guidance far in advance of any sat-nav system currently on the market.

Unlike existing systems, the newcomer, codenamed Saturn, plots routes by means of an algorithm that takes into account 25 live data streams. These include seemingly esoteric data, such as routes that are affected by excessive noise or low air quality as well as more usual metrics such as traffic density and road closures.

The development of the system has been made possible by a branch of the European Commission’s Competitiveness and Innovations program. The platform itself uses data from Copernicus – a European network of satellite data and information collected from ground-based sensors located on the roadside and elsewhere.

Paul Monks, Professor of Earth Observation Science at the University of Leicester said, “We know that you can route freight more efficiently through urban areas with improvements to air quality and movement. We also know that there are a number of ‘escape corridors’ in European cities, where plotting the right route is vital.

“A classic example is the old chestnut of lorries getting stuck under low bridges. Because of the multiple data streams used on our platform, we can plot very intelligent routes that take into account weather and road surface conditions.”

Prototypes of the system will run on regular tablet computers, although the university hopes to develop an OE system when trials are complete.

Saturn has not been the only CV telemetry development in recent weeks. OE manufacturer Bosch announced a deal to supply coach maker Setra with its Eco.Logic Motion system. This set-up ‘learns’ roads by creating a digital map known as an ‘event horizon’. The information can then be used to advise the driver of gear and throttle position changes ahead of when they are needed

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