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Vehicle Spacing Determination and Display In Low Visibility Conditions


OBJECTIVE: Design and build a system that can determine the distance between two vehicles, display that distance to the drivers, and make that distance determination under low visibility conditions. DESCRIPTION: Vehicle convoys are required during test operations of various munitions. For performance requirements, the vehicles are required to maintain constant distances apart. When conducting these convoys on dirt tracks, it becomes impossible for the drivers to maintain that distance, sometimes ruining data requiring additional time (costs) to re-run scenarios. Vehicle spacing is currently approximated using markers along the side of the track and visual markers on the vehicles. In addition, automotive testing of ground vehicles in severe dust conditions is performed on a regular basis. This requires the test vehicle to drive behind a dust generating vehicle at 24-32 kph on a specially prepared dust course. To ensure the most severe dust exposure possible, the test vehicle must follow close enough that the dust it travels in is a nearly solid cloud (currently 20-30 meters; preferred, a controlled 10 meters), and visibility is sometimes measured in mere feet. As a result, vehicle spacing and alignment varies during the test and collisions are a constant hazard. A system that provides the drivers the distance to the vehicle in front of them would reduce re-test time, increase data accuracy, and reduce safety issues for both drivers and equipment. The system needs to measure/calculate/determine the distance between two moving vehicles and provide that distance to the trailing vehicle The system developed under this effort must meet the following performance goals: Vehicle Spacing: 0-200 meters ( 0.1 meter) Vehicle speeds: 0-50 kph Number of vehicles: maximum of 30; 10 each in three separate columns (side-to-side distance not required) Environmental Conditions: Full sunlight, moonless night, dust, rain ,snow Output readable in direct sunlight and through heavy dust and rain/snow Power: Self-contained (cannot run off vehicle power) Rugged: Temperatures from -40 to +140 degrees F Water and dust proof Withstand constant (6 hours per day) vibration from tracked armored vehicles PHASE I: Perform a feasibility study in support of the development of a Vehicle Spacing Determination system which meets the specification above. Evaluate innovative technologies which may be used to build, integrate the system and leverage existing technologies. Perform trade-off analysis to determine the best approach for the Vehicle Spacing Determination system, and develop a preliminary design for the system. PHASE II: Develop a prototype Vehicle Spacing Determination system. Demonstrate the system technology and characterize its performance. PHASE III: The Vehicle Spacing Determination system developed under this topic could be implemented in combat vehicles that usually convoy to reduce collisions in low visibility conditions. The system could also be marketed to off-road vehicles to be utilized as an inexpensive obstacle/collision-avoidance system. REFERENCES: 1. MIL-STD 810G Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests, dated 31 Oct 2008; Jane"s Military Vehicles and Logistics.
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