Around the world in 80 days by electric motorcycle – part 5 – real-time reporting
The Weather Company, part of IBM and the world’s largest private weather enterprise, has been working with StormWave. StormWave is a project involving 23 students from Eindhoven University. The students there have built an electric motorcycle to cover 40,000 kilometers in 80 days. The project has been a collaboration of a number of companies also including NXP, KPN, TomTom and Itility. The Weather Company provided STORM with a mobile personal weather station that could be connected to local Wi-Fi or 3G, to receive personal weather forecasts on their actual location across the world.
Ronald Teijken, Internet of Things Evangelist at IBM, met the STORM students at a business event, and immediately felt very enthusiastic about the concept. Every time the mobile weather station connected to the internet it generated new reports, allowing the students to know well in advance when it would rain, if there was a storm coming, how high the air pressure would be and what the wind direction was that day. Based on the given information, the students could consider next steps, like covering electrical parts when a downpour was predicted. As a result, the insights in weather conditions helped to prevent possible defects of the motors. Another reason for The Weather Company to team up with Storm was to see if a combination of weather and battery data could be used to improve battery performance for future development.
How location might impact battery performance
Teijken views The Weather Company’s involvement as very valuable for both parties. “We use the retrieved data to investigate whether batteries in electrical vehicles are influenced by local weather circumstances at different places on earth. There hasn’t been extensive research on this subject before, so the results of the analysis might provide new information about the effects of the environment on battery performance in electrical vehicles. These insights enrich our knowledge about the automotive market. Also, we add Bluemix to the mix and try to use the Watson API´s available on this cloud platform to find relations between the different types of data on a much deeper level.”
Weather data becomes of increasing importance to travel related projects. IBM is working with the University of Michigan to provide advanced solar forecasting technology to help the university team power its solar car in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. With weather data, the team can gain real-time insights into conditions such as cloud cover and wind patterns as well as determine how much solar power will be available to fuel their car along the course race.
Looking back, Teijken is proud to see how the project came together, where all parties had different field of expertise. “That’s the beauty of IoT. You need to collaborate in ecosystems to make it work!” Teijken hopes that the end of the 80 day trip doesn’t mean the end of the collaboration between the students and IBM: ‘’It would be a shame if it all ended at the final party in Eindhoven. We plan to organize a hackathon with all of the students to see what else we can do with the data that was generated during the 40.000 kilometres of the trip.”’
The STORM World Tour began in the southern Netherlands city of Eindhoven, starting a route that circumnavigates the northern hemisphere, leaving Europe via Central Asia and then crossing North America before they returned to Eindhoven on November 2.
The project is also supported by NXP, TomTom and Itility, who are featured in other blog posts in this series. You can follow the progress of the STORM project via the links below or catch up on part 1, part 2, part 3 or part 4 of the story or follow live at: