The scope of this work is to comprehensively research and develop a visual guidance system that will be used by the operator onboard snowplow units, incorporating recent technological advances in digital imaging, remote sensing, global positioning system (GPS) and digital three-dimensional (3D) visualization. The conditions for intended use are low, and zero visibility environments such as encountered during blizzards, rural nighttime operations, super-cooled fog, and other high visual impairment situations. The effort will include gathering/synthesizing data, distilling this data to parse out technology applicable to the project goals, and designing and assembling an operational prototype unit that will be ready for further validation, enhancement, and field use. These latter tasks beyond delivery of an operational prototype would be addressed in a possible phase II, and are not part of the present project scope.
The objective of this project is to develop a prototype unit that incorporates available technology as much as possible with the goal of producing a relatively low-cost, high-accuracy, visual guidance system for snowplow operators. Elements of the project will include examining commercial and academic advances in virtual displays and similar digital imaging, three-dimensional (3D) mapping, global positioning system (GPS) vehicle positioning, radar/LiDAR-based sensing, and other emerging/existing technologies. Research would look at what sort of visual display would be the most effective for operator acceptance, safety and comfort.