The use of vehicle acceleration measurements to estimate road roughness
Road roughness is a broad term that incorporates everything from potholes and cracks to the random deviations that exist in a profile. To build a roughness index, road irregularities need to be measured first. Existing methods of gauging the roughness are based either on visual inspections or using one of a limited number of instrumented vehicles that can take physical measurements of the road irregularities. This paper proposes the collection of data from accelerometers fixed in a specific vehicle type and the use of this data to estimate the road condition. Although the estimate is approximate, accelerometers are being increasingly used by car manufacturers to improve suspension performance and the proposed method is relatively inexpensive to implement and provide road managers with constantly updated measurements of roughness. This approach is possible due to the relationship between the power spectral densities of road surface and vehicle accelerations via a transfer function. This paper shows how road profiles can be accurately classified using axle and body accelerations from a range of simulated vehicle-road dynamic scenarios.