Novel Collision-Avoidance System for Bicycles

Principal Investigator(s):

Rajesh Rajamani, Professor, Chair, Mechanical Engineering

Project summary:

This project focuses on development of a sensing and estimation system for a bicycle to accurately detect and track vehicles for two types of car-bicycle collisions. The two types of collisions considered are collisions from rear vehicles and collisions from right-turning vehicles at a traffic intersection. The collision detection system on a bicycle is required to be inexpensive, small and lightweight. Sensors that meet these constraints are utilized.

To monitor side vehicles and detect danger from a right-turning car, a custom sonar sensor is developed. It consists of one ultrasonic transmitter and two receivers from which both the lateral distance and the orientation of the car can be obtained. A Kalman Filter-based vehicle tracking system that utilizes this custom sonar sensor is developed and implemented. Experimental results show that it can reliably differentiate between straight driving and turning cars. A warning can be provided in time to prevent a collision.

For tracking rear vehicles, an inexpensive single-beam laser sensor is mounted on a rotationally controlled platform. The rotational orientation of the laser sensor needs to be actively controlled in real-time in order to continue to focus on a rear vehicle, as the vehicle's lateral and longitudinal distances change. This tracking problem requires controlling the real-time angular position of the laser sensor without knowing the future trajectory of the vehicle. The challenge is addressed using a novel receding horizon framework for active control and an interacting multiple model framework for estimation. The features and benefits of this active sensing system are illustrated first using simulation results. Then, extensive experimental results are presented using an instrumented bicycle to show the performance of the system in detecting and tracking rear vehicles during both straight and turning maneuvers.

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