Mowic saw an opportunity to reduce the operating costs of spreading salt on roads. Not knowing what terrain you’ll face affects traffic patterns, wears down brake systems, and most importantly is very dangerous. In addition to added time and danger on the roads, it’s no small cost to municipalities to run trucks for salt distribution.
Mowic is the market leader in GPS systems for road maintenance. Recently, the company acquired FYM, which develops low-power battery operated sensors and wireless communication networks for telematics, roadside sensors and road maintenance
That’s why Mowic developed TrackIce, a unique ice warning system designed to save lives and money. The system is comprised of a mother unit and several road sensors connected wirelessly with Digi XBee RF modules. The wireless mother unit contains meteorological sensors which measure air temperature and humidity. The system measures temp and conductivity at the ground level and determines if salt is necessary to meld snow and ice. Thanks to the cost-effective deployment per unit it is possible to build grids of sensors for more precise and updated road status. The wireless XBee network provides reliable communication and the sensors perform a synchronized sleep mode which improves energy efficiency and saving valuable battery life. In combination with information from the road sensors, hazardous situations can be identified and avoided. Due to the nature of icy roads, there is a need for multiple sensors--for example going from road to bridge or across several lanes on one road. Because the system is wireless, deployment is much easier than in the past. The wireless sensors measure temperature in the road and can also measure conductivity which is used to calculate how much salt that is left on the road. And the installation is very simple—a hole is drilled into the ground, and the sensor is inserted. There’s no need to tear up the road and bury cables to link the sensors together. TrackIce is battery operated and wireless. The distance between the sensors can be as much as 100 meters with an operation time of up to 60 months before a new battery is needed.