Automatic roadway features detection with oriented object detection

Author's Department

Computer Science & Engineering Department

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Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Applied Sciences (Switzerland)

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Extensive research efforts have been devoted to identify and improve roadway features that impact safety. Maintaining roadway safety features relies on costly manual operations of regular road surveying and data analysis. This paper introduces an automatic roadway safety features detection approach, which harnesses the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) computer vision to make the process more efficient and less costly. Given a front-facing camera and a global positioning system (GPS) sensor, the proposed system automatically evaluates ten roadway safety features. The system is composed of an oriented (or rotated) object detection model, which solves an orientation encoding discontinuity problem to improve detection accuracy, and a rule-based roadway safety evaluation module. To train and validate the proposed model, a fully-annotated dataset for roadway safety features extraction was collected covering 473 km of roads. The proposed method baseline results are found encouraging when compared to the state-of-the-art models. Different oriented object detection strategies are presented and discussed, and the developed model resulted in improving the mean average precision (mAP) by 16.9% when compared with the literature. The roadway safety feature average prediction accuracy is 84.39% and ranges between 91.11% and 63.12%. The introduced model can pervasively enable/disable autonomous driving (AD) based on safety features of the road; and empower connected vehicles (CV) to send and receive estimated safety features, alerting drivers about black spots or relatively less-safe segments or roads.

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