Characterisation of road bumps using smartphones
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Introduction: Speed bumps are used as the main means of controlling vehicle speeds all over the world. It is not too infrequent, especially in the emerging economies, to have unmarked bumps that can be perilous for the passengers. Fortuitously, the roadways and mobile phone networks have grown simultaneously in emerging economies. This paper demonstrates the capability of smartphones placed inside the vehicles in characterisation of road bumps. The smart mobile phones have accelerometers and position sensors that can be useful for autonomous monitoring roads. This can empower the user community in monitoring of roads. However, the capability of the smartphone in discerning different types of speed bumps while travelling in heterogeneous vehicle types needs to be examined. Methods: A range of road vehicles is mathematically modelled as mass, spring, and damper systems. The mathematical model of the vehicle is excited with parameters analogous to some common speed bumps and its acceleration response is calculated. The accelerometer of a smartphone is validated by comparing it with high precision accelerometers. The acceleration response of the phone while passing over the corresponding road bumps, which was used in the model earlier, is recorded using an Android based application. The experiment is repeated for different classes of vehicles. Filters have been used to reduce noise in the signals. A time averaging technique has been employed to compress the collected data.Results and conclusions: The acceleration signals have been digitally processed to capture road bumps. The importance of using a mathematical model to understand the acceleration response of a vehicle has been established. Also, the use of pass filters to extract the signal of concern from the noisy data has been exhibited. The ability of the technique to discern different types of speed bumps while travelling in a variety of vehicle types has been demonstrated. This investigation demonstrates the potential to automatically monitor the condition of roadways obviating costly manual inspections. As smartphones are ubiquitous, the methodology has the potential to empower the user community in the maintenance of infrastructure.
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