New camera technology can save lives on the roads

Save favourite 5 May May 2015

Patrik Jonsson an industrial PhD-student at STC presents his PhD thesis with a completely new measurement technology that can determine whether a road is wet, dry, icy or snow-covered. The technology can make deicing efficient and avoid accidents and save lives.

Every year serious traffic accidents happens on roads that are icy and snowy. To prevent  slipping this a system is used that only measures the road surface on individual points or over very small areas, which means that it can be a great failure rate. Patrik Jonsson, industrial PhD-student at STC, has developed a new measurement technique that without contact can distinguish areas on the road as dry, wet, icy or snowy. The system is unique thou it also detects small differences in road conditions such as may occur in the wheel tracks and cause problems.

- A commercial sensor has been developed based on the research results. It has received considerable attention at international conferences and from road operators, especially in the Nordic countries. Norway, Denmark and the Czech Republic will test the system during coming winter, says Patrik Jonsson.

The system consists of a cost-effective camera based on spectral analysis of images taken in infrared range (NIR). That along with analysis models and measurement data from the Swedish Transport Administration's weather stations gives a picture of the roadway where different parts of the road may be classified as icy, wet, dry or snowy.

The system has been tested along the road E14 on both sides of the border between Norway and Sweden. The results show that the system gives new information about roadway status compared to previous solutions. Thanks to the use of sensors in the infrared range even so called black ice can be discovered which was not possible before. The technology can also be used at airports and in the wind power industry to detect icing on wind turbine rotor blades and aircraft wings.

Now Patrik will return to his post at Combitech AB who currently are defining how the company can best benefit from Patrik's competence.

- While research has shown successful results, there are room for improvement of the system. The plan is that I continue to be included in research groups between Sweden and Norway, as Combitech and Mid Sweden University are collaborating in new research cooperation, says Patrik.

The thesis is called "Surface status classification, Utilizing image sensor technology and computer models" and is available here.

The research was funded by Combitech AB, Saab AB, Klimator AB and the Swedish Transport Administration in collaboration with Mid Sweden University.

Pictures from dissertation

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