Sensor for the Optical detection of DAngerous Road Conditions

Innodesi is interested in the development of an optical system for the assessment of roads conditions due to various atmospheric perturbations such as the presence of ice, wet surfaces and rain. Such system will be able to distinguish the different conditions corresponding to different levels of hazard.

In general, for aeronautical applications and transport, most of the systems are based on sensors that must be placed in contact with the ice. These range from the more traditional systems based on the combined measurement of temperature and humidity in optical fiber devices (mainly used in aircraft), capacitive sensors or piezoelectric . As it regards the detection of ice on the road, the contact sensors, although they are relatively reliable, have considerable installation and maintenance problems (being necessary their positioning in the asphalt). For this reason, alternative solutions have been proposed such as those based on the measurement of the reflected radiation at optical frequencies. The proposed sensor will be developed aiming at reliability, low power, simplicity and low-cost in order to make it suitable for detection points placed in both critical sites and on vehicles, able to generate alarm signals to improve the driver’s safety, transmit/receive information within a sensor network and build cloud databases to plan and optimize roads maintenance.

SODARC Architecture

The approach is based on the analysis of the road surface through the measurement of the polarization/depolarization level of a reflected/diffused optical beam. The goal is the development of a compact optical sensor based on the measurement of the depolarization of an optical beam reflected from the road surface. The sensor will comprise an optical section and electronics. The former includes the generation of a modulated optical beam from a semiconductor LED and detector. The latter performs analog to digital conversion, processing, recording and communication.