Evaluation of Radar for Snowplows

Principal Investigator:

Max Donath, Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Project Summary:

The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Transportation are working to improve the safety of heavy vehicles on highways. 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 or shoulder. We will focus on the latter in this study. There are many vendors who now sell or are developing radar systems for obstacle detection and warning to the driver. Almost all are integrated as a forward looking (or side-looking) warning system. Some are used for adaptive cruise control. None have been evaluated for providing information to snowplow drivers about the location and speed of vehicles moving around them or parked and/or abandoned on the shoulder. Radar may be able to provide such information when visibility is poor. 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 information. We will focus here on evaluating how particular radar units perform under conditions that would exist during snowplow operations.

Sponsor:

Project Details:

  • Start date: 02/1997
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Intelligent Vehicles