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Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1678; doi:10.3390/s16101678

Application of Ultrasonic Sensors in Road Surface Condition Distinction Methods

1
Graduate School of Sciences and Technology for Innovation, Yamaguchi University, 2-16-1, Tokiwadai, Ube-city, Yamaguchi 755-8611, Japan
2
Department of Creative Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu College, 5-20-1, Shii, Kokuraminami-ku, Kitakyushu-city, Fukuoka 802-0985, Japan
3
Department of Electronic Control Engineering, National Institution of Technology, Hiroshima College, 4272-1, Higashino, Osakikamijima-cho, Toyota-gun, Hiroshima 725-0231, Japan
4
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology, 1-1, Sensui-cho, Tobata-ku, Kitakyushu-city, Fukuoka 804-8550, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Hsiung-Cheng Lin and Wen-Yuan Chen
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 30 September 2016 / Accepted: 7 October 2016 / Published: 12 October 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [19320 KB, uploaded 18 October 2016]   |  

Abstract

The number of accidents involving elderly individuals has been increasing with the increase of the aging population, posing increasingly serious challenges. Most accidents are caused by reduced judgment and physical abilities, which lead to severe consequences. Therefore, studies on support systems for elderly and visually impaired people to improve the safety and quality of daily life are attracting considerable attention. In this study, a road surface condition distinction method using reflection intensities obtained by an ultrasonic sensor was proposed. The proposed method was applied to movement support systems for elderly and visually impaired individuals to detect dangerous road surfaces and give an alarm. The method did not perform well in previous studies of puddle detection, because the alert provided by the method did not enable users to avoid puddles. This study extended the method proposed by previous studies with respect to puddle detection ability. The findings indicate the effectiveness of the proposed method by considering four road surface conditions. The proposed method could detect puddle conditions. The effectiveness of the proposed method was verified in all four conditions, since users could differentiate between road surface conditions and classify the conditions as either safe or dangerous. View Full-Text
Keywords: surface condition distinction; ultrasonic sensor; reflection intensity; movement support system; accidents involving falls; road surface condition; puddle condition; elderly individuals; visually impaired individuals surface condition distinction; ultrasonic sensor; reflection intensity; movement support system; accidents involving falls; road surface condition; puddle condition; elderly individuals; visually impaired individuals
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nakashima, S.; Aramaki, S.; Kitazono, Y.; Mu, S.; Tanaka, K.; Serikawa, S. Application of Ultrasonic Sensors in Road Surface Condition Distinction Methods. Sensors 2016, 16, 1678.

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