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On-Board Estimation of Water Depth Using Low-Cost Sensors
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Last century has seen the emergence of many active safety systems, which have highly participated in reducing the number of car crashes. Nevertheless, those systems can be improved. In particular, information about the wetness of pavement surface could be of high importance to evaluate real tire/road friction. This paper deals with a new way to estimate local water depths under the tires as the car is running. A direct measurement of the amount of water droplets thrown from rotating tires of the vehicle is used. Tests are performed on test tracks with a real passenger car equipped to estimate spray and splash of water created by the front right tire of the car. Different water depths are obtained by flooding test tracks then measuring while they are drying. An indicator linked to the amount of water droplets is defined and studied under different conditions. Effects of traveling speed, road texture or tire tread pattern are assessed. The relationship between the indicator and actual water depth is verified by using non-contact optical water depth sensors as a reference. This new method of measurement via water droplets is a major breakthrough in automotive engineering since low-cost sensors can be used to estimate the water depth.