Fog is one of major challenges for transportation systems. The automation of the latter is based on perception sensors that can be disrupted by atmospheric conditions. As fog conditions are random and non-reproducible in nature, Cerema has designed a platform to generate fog and rain on demand. Two types of artificial fog with different droplet size distributions are generated: they correspond to radiation fogs with small and medium droplets. This study presents an original method for classifying these different types of fog in a descriptive and quantitative way. It uses a new fog classification coefficient based on a principal component analysis, which measures the ability of a pair of droplet size distribution descriptors to differentiate between the two different types of fog. This method is applied to a database containing more than 12,000 droplet size distributions collected within the platform. It makes it possible to show: (1) that the two types of fog proposed by Cerema have significantly different droplet size distributions, for meteorological visibility values from 10 m to 1000 m; (2) that the proposed droplet size distribution range is included in the natural droplet size distribution range; (3) that the proposed droplet size distribution range should be extended in particular with larger droplets. Finally, the proposed method makes it possible to compare the different fog droplet size distribution descriptors proposed in the literature.
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