Navigation System for Snowplows in Low Visibility Situations

In severe winter storms, sometimes visibility degrades to the point that it is no longer safe to continue plowing, and crews are called back to the garage or other safe place until the storm subsides. When this occurs, there are no longer any plows keeping drifts back so roads can quickly cover, and in some cases, drift shut. This severely limits traffic and emergency services from using the road until plows can return. The research team will develop and retrofit an existing snowplow with a suite of sensors and mapping systems along with a driver assistance interface that will guide the operator when visibility is too low for regular operation. In addition, route guidance, the system will also provide alerts for unexpected obstacles such as stalled/slow-moving vehicles, people, or debris. The system designed in phase 1 will not take over any control and only guide the operator. The main focus for this project will be the economic efficiency and field readiness of the solution. The team will include the following critical innovations to achieve an economical and practical solution to enable agency-level deployment: (i) economical mapping, (ii) economical instrumentation, (iii) shovel ready technology, and (iv) a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in implementing real-world autonomy solution.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $502265
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Iowa Department of Transportation

    800 Lincoln Way
    Ames, IA  United States  50010
  • Managing Organizations:

    Iowa Department of Transportation

    800 Lincoln Way
    Ames, IA  United States  50010
  • Project Managers:

    Clute, Khyle

  • Performing Organizations:

    Iowa State University, Ames

    Center for Transportation Research and Education
    2711 South Loop Drive, Suite 4700
    Ames, IA  United States  50010-8664
  • Principal Investigators:

    Sharma, Anuj

  • Start Date: 20211101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20241031
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01910243
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 27 2024 7:22PM