NATSRL Reports and Presentations

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This collection contains a handful of reports, presentations, and workshop brochures published by the Northland Advanced Transportation Systems Research Laboratories. The majority of NATSRL-sponsored reports are available in the Center for Transportation Studies Research Reports collection.

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    Brochure for 2009 Research Workshop on Intelligent Transportation Systems
    (2009-03-12) Minnesota Department of Transportation; University of Minnesota Duluth. Northland Advanced Transportation Systems Research Laboratories
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    Feasibility Study on Development of a CMOS Vision Processor for Vehicle Tracking
    (2007-03) Tang, Hua
    Vehicle tracking is an important area of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technology, which could be applied in a wide range of transportation applications. Tracking typically needs to monitor real-time vehicle movements, and thus real time tracking is highly desirable. However it is well known that vehicle tracking processes are computationally very intensive. In the past, regardless of different algorithms employed in vehicle tracking, they have been implemented using software approaches, e.g., FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array), microcontroller or embedded micro-processor, and PCs. While software approaches have an advantage of flexibility in implementation and future modifications, its long computational time often prevents real-time vehicle tracking from high resolution spatial or temporal data. It is well known in the area of VLSI (Very Large Scale Integrated) circuit design that a customized and dedicated hardware implementation of any algorithm minimizes its computational time. This gives us the motivation for direct implementation of tracking algorithms in hardware (i.e., device level), whether it is a partial or full implementation, to enhance real-time operation. The goal of this seed project is to investigate the feasibility and related issues in developing a tracking system with a new tracking algorithm based on vehicle motion detection, which is implemented in hardware whenever possible so that the computational time for tracking is minimized. The proposed overall tracking system consists of two parts. One part is the hardware, more specifically, a CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) hardware processor which is mainly responsible for vehicle motion detection. The other part is the software, for example an FPGA or micro-controller which is responsible for analyzing the data transmitted from the hardware and properly associating vehicles for tracking. The main computational time saving for the tracking process comes from the hardware part since the core of the new tracking algorithm, motion detection, is run on a dedicated hardware for that particular purpose. The proposed tracking algorithm is simulated in MATLAB and tested on traffic images captured from an intersection. It is found that vehicle movements can be accurately identified in spite of some noisy motion. Also, in this project, we estimate the computational time for the tracking algorithm in hardware implementation and discuss high-level hardware designs for actual implementation of the tracking algorithm.
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    Survey and Evaluation of Ice/Snow Detection Technologies
    (2004) Rios-Gutiérrez, Fernando; Hasan, Mohammed A
    Weather is a principal factor that contributes to traffic accidents. Thus Road and Weather Information Systems (RWIS) has been deployed by MNDOT to proactively detect adverse weather and road conditions so as to provide motorists with advanced warning of hazardous conditions. Ice on the roadway is one of the leading contributors to winter weather accidents. There are many ice detection technologies, however it is not clear whether these sensors are accurate for detection of ice on the roadway surface. The development of a reliable ice detection sensor would provide MNDOT engineers and maintenance personnel the tools they need to warn drivers of potentially hazardous road conditions due to ice formation on the road surface and mobilize MNDOT's maintenance fleet with anti-icing treatments to the road surface. The usefulness of any weather sensor is determined by the accuracy of the parameter(s) it sensed. An accurate ice detection sensor could provide the tools necessary for engineers to make informed decisions on proper use and sensor specifications. Weather sensors accuracy is affected by temperature, light availability, visibility, pavement’s conditions and wind. Often, many vendors do not provide detailed information regarding sensor specifications and proper application. In this research, a thorough evaluation of the Infrared Road Ice Detection System IRID is being conducted. IRID, which is an active IR remote ice sensor, offers distinct advantages over embedded road sensors. It has lower installation costs, lower cost of ownership, improved safety, and gives better results. The objective of this research has been to investigate the IRID sensor in terms of accuracy and sensitivity to distance and different deicing materials. Different measurements have been collected in different weather conditions, and on concrete and asphalt pavements. Data analysis indicates that this sensor is sensitive to weather conditions and the presence of two contaminants salt brine (NaCl) and Magic (Magnesium Chloride). Thus the ultimate goal after a successful evaluation is to mount this sensor on a bridge on a busy highway and use it to monitor the weather conditions remotely. In addition to the infrared ice sensor, the IRID comes with a camera that can be used to show pictures of different locations near the pavement using pan/tilt capability.