Austroads report details impacts of automated vehicles on road markings

https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/news-and-events/media-releases/community-feedback-shapes-future-western-sydney-corridorsThe latest Austroads report examines how the design of road markings can impact the performance of machine vision.

Advanced driver assistance systems and future automated vehicles are at the center of the research.

The study found that the contrast between longitudinal pavement markings and the surrounding substrate is critical for the operation of machine-vision lane detection.

John Wall, Austroads’ Future Vehicles and Technology Program Manager, says automated vehicles will not be on our roads for some time, but there is a growing range of vehicles with automated-steering functions that rely on road markings to position the vehicle on the road.

“Austroads’ recent research has shown that the journey to vehicle automation will take many years and considerable collaborative efforts in testing, certification, design and legislation,” he said.

“But a growing range of vehicles are already available in the market offering automated-steering functions enabled by Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems. Their performance depends on the technology used and the environment where it’s used.”

Austroads’ project was undertaken in four stages; literature review; stakeholder discussions; on-road and off-road trials; and cost impact assessment.

The literature review and testing showed that while machine vision for lane guidance does not operate perfectly, it provides significant road safety benefits.

Research also found that line width, lane width and continuity impacted performance of machine-vision lane detection.

It found that there are many difficult-to-control factors that can degrade machine vision system’s ability to detect pavement markings though improving maintenance standards and design principles could generate significant network-wide gains.

The cost to benefit ratio, between safety benefits and the cost of improving pavement markings, was found in the analysis to be 3.28 with safety benefits exceeding the cost.

Recommendations were also put forward for improvements of maintenance design guidelines for continuity lines, exit ramps and intersections to ensure the benefits of new technology can be fully realised in the community.

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