Vehicle Classification and Speed Estimation Using Combined Passive Infrared/Ultrasonic Sensors

Enas M. Odat, Jeff S. Shamma, Christian Claudel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


In this paper, a new sensing device that can simultaneously monitor traffic congestion and urban flash floods is presented. This sensing device is based on the combination of passive infrared sensors (PIRs) and ultrasonic rangefinder, and is used for real-time vehicle detection, classification, and speed estimation in the context of wireless sensor networks. This framework relies on dynamic Bayesian Networks to fuse heterogeneous data both spatially and temporally for vehicle detection. To estimate the speed of the incoming vehicles, we first use cross correlation and wavelet transform-based methods to estimate the time delay between the signals of different sensors. We then propose a calibration and self-correction model based on Bayesian Networks to make a joint inference by all sensors about the speed and the length of the detected vehicle. Furthermore, we use the measurements of the ultrasonic and the PIR sensors to perform vehicle classification. Validation data (using an experimental dual infrared and ultrasonic traffic sensor) show a 99% accuracy in vehicle detection, a mean error of 5 kph in vehicle speed estimation, a mean error of 0.7m in vehicle length estimation, and a high accuracy in vehicle classification. Finally, we discuss the computational performance of the algorithm, and show that this framework can be implemented on low-power computational devices within a wireless sensor network setting. Such decentralized processing greatly improves the energy consumption of the system and minimizes bandwidth usage.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1593-1606
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 18 2017


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