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Transportation

Deep Learning Identifies Wet Road Hazards From Sound Input (thestack.com) 60

An anonymous reader writes: Researches have used recurrent neural network architecture to develop an audio-interpretation system that can understand how wet a road is, using techniques more commonly employed in speech recognition and music analysis. Every year 384,032 persons are injured and 4,789 persons killed through wet roads, and it's a problem that also threatens to hamper the usefulness of self-driving cars, which are likely to either become dangerous or prohibitively cautious in the absence of good information about the safety of road surfaces.
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Deep Learning Identifies Wet Road Hazards From Sound Input

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  • by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @07:07AM (#51079473)

    " Every year 384,032 persons are injured and 4,789 persons killed through wet roads" should read:

      Every year 384,032 persons are injured and 4,789 persons killed through wet roads and their inability to grasp the concepts of friction and velocity.

      Or: ...are killed because of their piss poor driving skills.

    • by chthon ( 580889 )

      My experience with other drivers is that they choose a certain way of driving under normal circumstances, and then do this also when it is wet, raining, pouring or foggy.

    • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @08:16AM (#51079641) Journal

      Indeed. About five years ago, my then-next-door neighbours' son was seriously hurt (and left with long-term life-changing injuries) in a crash a few months after passing his driving test. He wasn't breaking the speed-limit at the time - he was bang on 40mph on a road with a 40mph limit - but he had tried taking a bend that he should have been slowing for even in good road conditions without slowing - just after a short, sharp rain-shower when the road was extremely slippery. Result - he went off the road and into a tree at 40mph.

      I think part of the issue is that a lot of the advances in car technology that have made motoring safer and easier under most conditions have also served to insulate drivers from the reality of what they are doing; controlling a powerful, heavy metal object whose connection to the road comes through four small strips of rubber.

      Here in the UK, you can legally learn to drive from age 17. Learning and passing a test generally requires several months (we have arguably the toughest driving test in the world, which is unsurprising as we also have more cars per mile of road than any other country on Earth). One trick I've recommended to parents a number of times over the years is that they might want to consider, as a "treat" for their newly-driving offspring, one of those "rally days" you can pay for, which includes a few hours instruction in loose-gravel driving, plus the opportunity to try it out for several hours.

      Based on both personal and observed experience, there is absolutely nothing as effective as throwing a car with no power steering, no traction control and no ABS around a loose gravel surface at teaching the driver just how scary some of the forces he or she is playing with can be. Doing 40mph on tarmac in a modern road car feels positively sedate under most circumstances. Doing 40mpgh in a rattling bare-bones car on a surface which provides very little grip feels very different. An intelligent 17 year old should be able to carry that knowledge across into driving on wet tarmac.

      And no, video games, no matter how realistic, are not a substitute. You need to feel the weight of the car and the power of the engine through the steering column, or the lesson just doesn't work.

    • Eh, everyone is a perfectly competent driver until right before a crash. To demand not only perfect identification of road conditions (you've never been taken by surprised by a patch of black ice?), but near perfect responses to vehicle dynamics isn't realistic regardless of exemplary or poor driving skills. Even race car drivers still crash.

      Adding to the information a driver has beyond autonomous cars can only be a good thing.

      http://icyroadsafety.com/ [icyroadsafety.com]

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      One of the things that

      • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @09:22AM (#51079953) Homepage

        "Even race car drivers still crash."

        Race car drivers are paid to take their vehicles to the limit of control. Normal drivers are told not to on many occasions but a lot just don't listen.

        • Race car drivers are paid to take their vehicles to the limit of control.

          there was a CART race at Texas Motor Speedway [wikipedia.org] where they got so fast, over 235MPH, the G forces were so strong, a couple of the drivers blacked out. Not passed out, but they didn't remember driving. Scary stuff. CART eventually thought best of it and cancel the race.

          Sadly, a lot of people were pissed at the drivers, and that anger, anger at erring for drivers' safety, ended up killing CART to where they merged back with the Indy Ra

    • "Or or killed by OTHERS' piss poor driving skills" the best driver in the world can get t-boned at an intersection by someone who is driving like an idiot..

  • Many years ago, I remember hearing about a project to identify mechanical problems by audio recognition. The idea was that a computer could listen to an engine and tell whether a cylinder was misfiring, for example. I wonder whatever came of that?

    -jcr

    • Many years ago, I remember hearing about a project to identify mechanical problems by audio recognition. The idea was that a computer could listen to an engine and tell whether a cylinder was misfiring, for example. I wonder whatever came of that?

      I can't speak to what you were talking about, but every modern car has piezo microphones bolted to the block used to listen for misfires, called knock sensors. When you combine their output with that of the crank and cam position sensors, you can determine which cylinder is misfiring.

      • by jcr ( 53032 )

        That sounds like it, but I recall it was also supposed to listen for things like bearings going bad, loose belts, etc.

        -jcr

    • That's the principle that a knock sensor operates on... so I'd say in some regard it's definitely a technology in use. Don't know if that's what you were referring to but all cars have had knock sensors for the past 20 years or more.

  • This deep learning stuff is going to be huge one day
  • Unless there is extremely deep pools of water following the speed limit has enough built in safety factor to operate safely when it is wet.
    • Unless there is extremely deep pools of water following the speed limit has enough built in safety factor to operate safely when it is wet.

      In the really real world, there are often turns for which you have to decelerate from the speed limit in the best of conditions. How much you have to decelerate depends on the current road conditions. Maybe someday when your parents let you drive, you'll get this.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @10:41AM (#51080571) Homepage

    Every year 384,032 persons are injured and 4,789 persons killed through wet roads,

    Yet another reason to ban dihydrogen monoxide!

  • Here's some answers the artificial intelligence came up with:

    How Wet Is It? ....it's so wet, the term "Ark-Industrial-Complex" has just been added to the Oxford Dictionary. ....it's so wet, the moisturizer jar gets more full with each use. ....it's so wet, my ride-on mower is now a float-on. ....it's so wet, it *must* be a liberal conspiracy to undermine the credibility of climate change deniers. ....it's so wet, I saw a fish in a lifeboat. ....it's so wet, my in-laws are vacationing in England for three we

  • I wonder, what kind of roads and tyres are involved here?

    I can't remember having a problem with wet roads while driving in a way that wouldn't be seriously uncomfortable - unless there's a few inches of water on the road or I'm driving crazy cars (like that 700hp Cadillac test car with slicks that didn't want to move with or without traction control). Am I just getting way too good tyres?

    Unless the "wet" is frozen. But that's a completely different game.

    But if anyone builds me a car that warns me of black i

  • It's really simple. Police say it until they're blue in the face. Drive to the conditions and slow down. Just because you have all wheel drive, traction control, anti lock breaks, auto breaking, etc. doesn't give you license to drive 20% over the speed limit when everyone is going 50% under because the roads suck. Of course there will be the kidiot whining that he rolled his new suv and the highway department didn't do its job. Wah.

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