The design and maintenance of road markings can impact the performance of advanced driver assistance systems and future automated vehicles, a report has found.
Autonomous vehicles, according to Austroads Future Vehicles and Technology Program Manager, John Wall, said there is a growing range of vehicles with automated-steering functions that rely on road markings to position the vehicle on the road.
Recent research via Austroads shows that the journey to vehicle automation will take years and collaborative efforts in testing, certification, design and legislation.
While a range of vehicles are already available in the market offering automated-steering functions enabled by Driver-Assistance Systems, their performance, according to Wall, “depends on the technology used and the environment where it’s used”.
The research project was undertaken in four key stages: literature review, stakeholder discussions, on-road and off-road trials and cost impact assessment.
The literature review and testing showed that while machine-vision-enabled lane-guidance functions do not operate perfectly, they do provide significant road safety benefits.
Austroads said the study found that the contrast between longitudinal pavement markings and the surrounding substrate is critical for the operation of machine-vision lane detection. The contrast ratios recommended by Austroads’ Harmonisation of Pavement Markings and National Pavement Marking Specification published in 2018 were found to be appropriate.
The research also found that line width, lane width and continuity impacted performance of machine-vision lane detection.
“While many difficult-to-control factors can degrade the machine-vision-system’s ability to detect longitudinal pavement markings, improving maintenance standards and design principles could generate significant network-wide gains,” said Austroads. “An analysis found that the safety benefits of improving longitudinal pavement markings exceeded the costs by a 3.28 benefits-to-costs ratio.”
The authors of Implications of Pavement Markings for Machine Vision recommended improvements to design guidelines for continuity lines, exit ramps and intersections and to maintenance practices to ensure the benefits of this new technology can be fully realised for the community.