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Driver Assistive Systems for Snowplows

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  07/25/2003


A comprehensive driver assistive system which utilizes dual frequency, carrier phase real time kinematic (RTK) differential global positioning system (DGPS), high accuracy digital geospatial databases, advanced automotive radar, and a driver interface with visual, haptic, and audible components has been used to assist specialty vehicle operators perform their tasks under these low visibility conditions. The system is able to provide a driver with high fidelity representations of the local geospatial landscape through a custom designed Head Up Display (HUD). Lane boundaries, turn lanes, intersections, mailboxes, and other elements of the geospatial landscape, including those sensed by automotive radar, are projected onto the HUD in the proper perspective. This allows a driver to safely guide his or her vehicle in low to zero visibility conditions in a desired lane while avoiding collisions. Four areas of research, are described herein: driver assistive displays, the integration of a geospatial database for improved radar processing, snowplow dynamics for slippery conditions, and a virtual bumper based collision avoidance/gang plowing system. (Gang plowing is the "flying in formation" of snowplows as a means to rapidly clear multilane roads.) Results from this research have vastly improved the performance and reliability of the driver assistive system.

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