Research Reports

Development of Driver Assistance Systems to Support Snowplow Operations

Principal Investigator:

Chen-Fu Liao, Nichole Morris, Jacob Achtemeier, Lee Alexander, Brian Davis, Max Donath, Gordon Parikh

August 2018

Report no. CTS 18-14

Projects: Test and Demonstration of Connected Vehicles Applications to Maintenance Operations

Topics: Connected and automated vehicles, Maintenance, Safety, Snow and ice control

Snowplow operators are often tasked with numerous monitoring and operational activities that they need to do simultaneously while removing snow and spreading deicing agents on the road. Driver assist systems were considered for 3 applications: gang plowing, backup assist, and lane boundary guidance. We evaluated the system performance and position accuracy of commercially available Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) Onboard Units (OBU) for gang plowing. Our results indicated that the positioning accuracy of the OBUs was inadequate for providing the plow operator with sufficient information to maintain spacing between two vehicles. The backup assist system and lane boundary guidance system were developed and successfully deployed to support snowplow operations. Human factors studies were also conducted using a driving simulator to better understand the needs prior to designing an appropriate Human Machine Interface (HMI) for these plow operations. The radar-based backup assist system was installed on a snowplow that operates on Highway 169. The backup assist system provides an audio warning to the operator to look at the display from a rear-view camera when an object is detected. The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based lane boundary guidance system was developed to assist plow operations when visibility is poor and lane boundary cues are limited. The lane boundary guidance system was installed on a second snowplow operating on MN-25 running between Belle Plaine and Green Isle. The lane boundary guidance received the most positive feedback from operators and is recommended for further development.

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