TomTom, the Dutch company best known for its navigation and mapping products and alsorecently started selling smart wearables, yesterday announced that TomTom claimed it will offer real-time weather information to calculate routes and arrival times in its navigation products. This feature is designed to enable faster journeys for drivers by calculating routes based on actual weather conditions.

TomTom Traffic devices offer ‘precise’ traffic jam information, and now also warns drivers about upcoming slow moving traffic due to heavy rain or snow. The feature should enable drivers to take ‘smarter’ decisions about how to get to their destinations faster by being better informed about the weather situation up ahead.

“By knowing the exact traffic situation across the entire road network we can calculate the quickest route to help people get to their destination faster.” said Ralf-Peter Schäfer, head of TomTom Traffic. “We know that bad weather is often unpredictable and can cause significant travel delays. Now, by factoring in the weather, we give drivers more advanced knowledge about the road ahead to make journeys faster and more predictable.”

Use real-time weather information to calculate routes and arrival times

TomTom claimed it is the first company to use real-time weather information to calculate routes and arrival times.

Although they may yet add these features or only provide in-app upgrades, a number of navigation apps in various App stores already do claim, or at one time did, incorporate weather data in their navigation apps:

In the US store:

Road Trip Weather

In UK and other markets:

inRoute Intelligent Route PlannerNavigon (owned by Garmin)

Instant Weather pilot project in Sunderland

The question of intelligently usage of weather data of finer granularity than is available through low cost services is an issue addressed by Transport Systems Catapult in its Instant Weather pilot project in Sunderland.

The Instant Weather, or Integrated Transport and Weather Information Pilot (ITWIP), is a joint innovation project between Transport Systems Catapult (TSC), Connected Digital Economy Catapult (CDEC), the Met Office and Sunderland Software City.

By allowing free access to localised and short timeframe forecast data (usually priced out of the range of app developers), companies can develop and commercialise new services and applications that address transport related problems – such as disruption, routing, extreme weather events, impacts on infrastructure and communicating disruption to stakeholders.