Automated Vehicle Location, Friction Measurement and Applicator Control for Winter Road Maintenance

Principal Investigator(s):

Rajesh Rajamani, Professor, Chair, Mechanical Engineering


Project summary:

This project was made up of two main components. The first component aimed to perform a detailed evaluation of a new friction measurement system's ability to accurately measure road conditions. The evaluation correspondingly acted as a reliable performance measure to determine how well winter road maintenance has been performed. This component included the development of a system that records friction coefficient as a function of road location. Researchers also conducted studies to evaluate the ability of visual inspection to predict road-surface conditions and to see whether recordings from the friction-coefficient measurement system can serve as a reliable performance measure of all winter road maintenance tasks completed by a snowplow. The second component involved a detailed evaluation of the performance of a closed-loop system that utilizes friction measurement for automatic applicator control. This work included evaluating the performance of the applicator control system in terms of its ability to adequately apply de-icing chemicals or sand on slippery spots on a road. Finally, the project enhanced the developed automatic applicator control system by using real-time data from a geographical information system (GIS) to provide information on upcoming geometric road alignment and known problematic segments of roadway. The ease of installation, of use, and of manufacturing for the friction measurement system will be improved to enable the supply of Mn/DOT with multiple friction measurement systems in the future.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2008040
  • Start date: 12/2007
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Maintenance, Snow and ice control