Inverse algorithm for real-time road roughness estimation for autonomous vehicles

Jinhui Jiang, Mohammed Seaid, M. Shadi Mohamed, Hongqiu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
160 Downloads (Pure)


Human drivers take instant decisions about their speed, acceleration and distance from other vehicles based on different factors including their estimate of the road roughness. Having an accurate algorithm for real-time evaluation of road roughness can be critical for autonomous vehicles in order to achieve safe driving and passengers comfort. In this paper, we investigate the problem of interactive road roughness identification. We propose a novel inverse algorithm based on the knowledge of a vehicle dynamic characteristics and dynamic responses. The algorithm construct the road profile in time using one-iteration to update the wheels forces which are then used to identify the road roughness. The relation between the forces and the road profile is defined by a system of ordinary differential equations that are solved using the composite Gaussian quadrature. To reduce the error accumulation in time when noisy data is used for the vehicle response, a bidirectional filter is also implemented. We assume a simple model that is based on four degrees-of-freedom system and vibration acceleration measurements to evaluate the road roughness in real time. Although we present the results for this specific model, the algorithm can also be utilised with models of any number of degrees of freedom and can deal with models where the dynamic response is only available at some of the degrees of freedom. This is achieved by introducing a matrix reduction technique that is discussed in details. Furthermore, we evaluate the impact of uncertainty in the vehicle parameters on the algorithm estimation accuracy. The proposed algorithm is evaluated for different types of road roughness. The simulation results show that the proposed method is robust and can achieve high accuracy. The algorithm offers excellent potential for road roughness estimation not only for autonomous vehicle but also for vehicles and roads designing purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1333-1348
Number of pages16
JournalArchive of Applied Mechanics
Issue number6
Early online date10 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Autonomous vehicle
  • Bidirectional filter
  • Inverse problem
  • Noisy data
  • Road roughness
  • Vehicle trajectory
  • Vibration acceleration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Inverse algorithm for real-time road roughness estimation for autonomous vehicles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this