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Object and vehicle detection

Radar and lidar systems are the eyes of intelligent vehicles developed at the IV Lab. These sensors are also critical components of infrastructure-based systems, where they are used to detect, classify, and track vehicles.

The IV Lab has developed technical and practical expertise in selecting the right sensor for the job, designing complex multi-sensor data gathering arrays, and integrating the data from multiple sensors of different types to produce an accurate and coherent picture of the physical world.


Compact commercial radar units are suitable for a wide range of applications, both in-vehicle and infrastructure-based. The IV Lab has used radar to provide obstacle detection in zero-visibility conditions for snowplows operating in the worst winter weather; in the domain of traffic surveillance, multiple roadside radar units track vehicles approaching rural highway intersections in the Rural Intersection Collision Avoidance initiative.


Laser-based direction and ranging (lidar) is a useful complement to radar in many short-range applications. By detecting the corners and vehicles, infrared lidar units can provide the data needed for accurate vehicle size estimation. Lidar has been used by IV Lab researchers as a virtual rear-view mirror to detect and track vehicles behind and around transit buses. Lidar detectors are also integral to the Rural Intersection Collision Avoidance system, in which they detect and classify by size vehicles stopped on a secondary rural road.