The Japanese meteorology company Weathernews Inc. will partner with the car maker Toyota to use connected car data for its forecasting.
Crowd-sourced windshield wiper data will be leveraged from Toyota vehicles to help improve the accuracy of rain forecasts.
A pilot test began this month in three Japanese cities – Aichi, Tokyo and Osaka – where data on the operational status of connected cars’ windshield wipers will be compared with weather data for the same area.
Since wiper operating status typically denotes whether or not it is raining, using wiper data should help detect rain showers overlooked by standard rain cloud radar.
With Toyota beginning the full-scale roll-out of its connected vehicles in Japan last June, crowd-sourced car data is likely to become an important new data stream for forecasters.
Weathernews itself is no stranger to crowd-sourcing, already relying on tens of thousands of daily user weather reports to supplement weather data from its network of 13,0000 observation stations.
In earlier case studies of the Kanto region of Japan the company found that rain from low-level rain clouds undetected by radar was reported by users of the Weathernews app.
It also found that when the user reports were correlated with windshield wiper data there was a close match, showing that wiper data can detect rain missed by radar.