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Detecting Road Surface Wetness Using Microphones and Convolutional Neural Networks

The automatic detection of road conditions in next-generation vehicles is an important task that is getting increasing interest from the research community. Its main applications concern driver safety, autonomous vehicles, and in-car audio equalization. These applications rely on sensors that must be deployed following a trade-off between installation and maintenance costs and effectiveness. In this paper we tackle road surface wetness classification using microphones and comparing convolutional neural networks (CNN) with bi-directional long-short term memory networks (BLSTM) following previous motivating works. We introduce a new dataset to assess the role of different tire types and discuss the deployment of the microphones. We find a solution that is immune to water and sufficiently robust to in-cabin interference and tire type changes. Classification results with the recorded dataset reach a 95% F-score and a 97% F-score using the CNN and BLSTM methods, respectively.

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