Research Reports

Driver Assistive Systems for Snowplows

Principal Investigator:

Alec Gorjestani, Lee Alexander, Bryan Newstrom, Pi-Ming Cheng, Mike Sergi, Craig Shankwitz, Max Donath

March 2003

Report no. MnDOT 2003-13

Projects: Driver Assistive Systems for Snowplows

Topics: Intelligent Vehicles, Safety

A comprehensive driver assistive system which utilizes dual frequency, carrier phase real time kinematic (RTK) differential global positioning system (DGPS), high accuracy digital geospatial databases, advanced automotive radar, and a driver interface with visual, haptic, and audible components has been used to assist specialty vehicle operators perform their tasks under these low visibility conditions. The system is able to provide a driver with high fidelity representations of the local geospatial landscape through a custom designed Head Up Display (HUD). Lane boundaries, turn lanes, intersections, mailboxes, and other elements of the geospatial landscape, including those sensed by automotive radar, are projected onto the HUD in the proper perspective. This allows a driver to safely guide his or her vehicle in low to zero visibility conditions in a desired lane while avoiding collisions. Four areas of research, are described herein: driver assistive displays, the integration of a geospatial database for improved radar processing, snowplow dynamics for slippery conditions, and a virtual bumper based collision avoidance/gang plowing system. (Gang plowing is the flying in formation of snowplows as a means to rapidly clear multilane roads.) Results from this research have vastly improved the performance and reliability of the driver assistive system. Research on the use of a specialized driver assistance system to assist specialty vehicle operators in low visibility conditions, including the design of a custom Head Up Display (HUD) projecting elements of the landscape in proper perspective. Driver assistive displays, the integration of a geospatial database for improved radar processing, snowplow dynamics for slippery conditions, and a virtual bumper based on collision avoidance/gang plowing system are discussed.

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