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Here makes driving safer with crowdsourced road conditions

The Here digital mapping company announces at CES 2017 its Electronic Horizon product, which shares road conditions among connected cars, allowing them to automatically prepare for unsafe conditions.

Here Electronic Horizon image
Here's Electronic Horizon shares road condition data among cars over a data connection to Here's cloud.

Digital mapping company Here, owned as a consortium by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, announced a service that automatically gathers and disseminates road data from cars. Called Electronic Horizon, Here is demonstrating the service at CES 2017.

Currently, cars react to road conditions through, for example, traction control, which activates when sensors detect wheel slip. With Electronic Horizon, when one car's sensors detect wheel slip, it sends that information with location coordinates to the Here cloud. Other cars equipped with Electronic Horizon receive the information, and as they approach that location, can preload traction control to more safely traverse the road.

Here says its Electronic Horizon service will adjust the engine and transmission to help fuel efficiency, help adaptive cruise control by giving it crowdsourced information about traffic ahead, and better direct a car's adaptive headlights based on what other cars encounter.

Cloud-based services in cars have gone from real-time traffic data in navigation systems to research into a technology called vehicle-to-everything (V2E), where cars communicate with each other and roadside infrastructure to help prevent accidents. The US government and other technical groups have been working toward a standard, where all cars will communicate over the same protocols.

Electronic Horizon takes a different approach from V2E, in that cars can use a standard data connection to send their information to Here's cloud, where it can be analyzed and disseminated to cars in relevant areas. Here says that Electronic Horizon will even cache data, so as to make it continually available when a car loses its data connection, such as in a tunnel.

Here says that automakers are already testing the service, and it will see deployment late this year. The company did not say which cars will first come to market with Electronic Horizon.