Max Donath, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Our goal is to investigate how reductions in accidents can be achieved by integrating emerging sensing and control technologies. To improve the navigability of roads during poor visibility conditions, two forms of information must be provided to the driver - road boundary definitions and the location of obstacles and other vehicles on the road. 3M has developed a magnetic tape that can be used in tandem with a magnetometer to provide a reference for lateral sensing of the road. This information can be used to provide road boundary information to drivers suffering from poor visibility. Since there have been a number of fatalities suffered as a result of fast moving vehicles hitting slow moving snowplows, this technology will first be evaluated as a means for providing snowplow drivers with the needed perceptual information to drive at speeds closer to those at normal conditions. We will focus here on evaluating magnetic based means for sensing lateral position of the vehicle with respect to the road boundaries. In particular, we will investigate the potential improvements that can be achieved by using the new 3M magnetic tape mounted to the road surface with sensing provided by a magnetometer.