Snow Rendering for Interactive Snowplow Simulation-- Supporting Safety in Snowplow Design

Peter Willemsen
February 2011
Report no. CTS 11-04

Abstract

During a snowfall, following a snowplow can be extremely dangerous. This danger comes from the human visual system's inability to accurately perceive the speed and motion of the snowplow, often resulting in rear-end collisions. For this project, the researchers' goal is to use their understanding of how the human visual system processes optical motion under the conditions created by blowing snow to create a simulation framework that could be used to test emergency lighting configurations that reduce rear-end collisions with snowplows. Reaction times for detecting the motion of the snowplow will be measured empirically for a variety of color set-ups on a simulated snowplow that slows down while driving on a virtual road with curves and hills. The simulated driving environment will utilize a head-mounted, virtual reality display to render an improved snow cloud model behind the snowplow. This driving simulator environment will serve as the basis for testing the effects of color and lighting alternatives on snowplows. The results of this work will move the researchers closer to determining optimal color and lighting configurations on actual snowplows.

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Sponsored by: ITS Institute (RITA)