Estimates of road grade/slope can add another dimension of information to existing 2D digital road maps. Integration of road grade information will widen the scope of digital map's applications, which is primarily used for navigation, by enabling driving safety and efficiency applications such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), eco-driving, etc. The huge scale and dynamic nature of road networks make sensing road grade a challenging task. Traditional methods oftentimes suffer from limited scalability and update frequency, as well as poor sensing accuracy. To overcome these problems, we propose a cost-effective and scalable road grade estimation framework using sensor data from smartphones. Based on our understanding of the error characteristics of smartphone sensors, we intelligently combine data from accelerometer, gyroscope and vehicle speed data from OBD-II/smartphone's GPS to estimate road grade. To improve accuracy and robustness of the system, the estimations of road grade from multiple sources/vehicles are crowd-sourced to compensate for the effects of varying quality of sensor data from different sources. Extensive experimental evaluation on a test route of ~9km demonstrates the superior performance of our proposed method, achieving $5\times$ improvement on road grade estimation accuracy over baselines, with 90\% of errors below 0.3$^\circ$.
Comment: Proceedings of 19th ACM/IEEE Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN'20)
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