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Doctoral Student Designs Microphones That Monitor Road Traffic

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A microphone-based system for monitoring traffic

A doctoral student at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne has designed a microphone-based system that can sense how much traffic is on a specific road, how fast the vehicles are moving, and their size.

Credit: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne doctoral student Patrick Marmaroli has created an automatic road traffic sensor based on dual microphones that pick up the sound of tires on pavement to assess traffic volume, as well as vehicle size and speed.

Marmaroli says the system is useful for road planning and providing traffic and air pollution updates, and "could eventually be used in other areas, such as air traffic, train traffic, or industrial metrology."

He notes that gathering this information currently requires multiple instruments and costly, time-consuming data synchronization, but the microphones "replace all of that with just one device that provides all the data synchronously and in a single format."

The system records sound for about four seconds per vehicle using two microphones located a certain distance apart and a computer that runs an algorithm. Vehicles are detected and followed in real time to estimate speed, which is then mapped onto an image.

The system can determine the wheelbase to indicate vehicle size, and uses an acoustic-tracking approach to filter out background noise.

From Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
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