This paper presents the design and development of a novel optical vehicle classifier system, which is based on interruption of laser beams, that is suitable for use in places with poor transportation infrastructure. The system can estimate the speed, axle count, wheelbase, tire diameter, and the lane of motion of a vehicle. The design of the system eliminates the need for careful optical alignment, whereas the proposed estimation strategies render the estimates insensitive to angular mounting errors and to unevenness of the road. Strategies to estimate vehicular parameters are described along with the optimization of the geometry of the system to minimize estimation errors due to quantization. The system is subsequently fabricated, and the proposed features of the system are experimentally demonstrated. The relative errors in the estimation of velocity and tire diameter are shown to be within 0.5% and to change by less than 17% for angular mounting errors up to 30°. In the field, the classifier demonstrates accuracy better than 97.5% and 94%, respectively, in the estimation of the wheelbase and lane of motion and can classify vehicles with an average accuracy of over 89.5%.
IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems 14(3): 1043-1052