UD Camera Research

I have endless amazing memories and experiences to call upon from of The University of Delaware. In terms of my entrepreneurial story, one reigns the highest today :)

At the beginning if Dr. Jack Puleo’s course in junior year, Fluid Mechanics, he made an announcement after lecture 1. “Oh I’m looking for an undergrad who wants to do traffic camera research with me”. I emailed that night.

In interview fashion, I remember talking with him in his office, and telling my story and expressing my passion and interest. Afterwards he said it was a hard decision. That he and his wife talked about it. Dr. P chose me for the project, and this changed my life. I was pretty happy, and excited to tell my parents. Nerd life lol.

Turns out the project was pretty cool. The initiative revolved around an existing one, The University of Delaware “Smart Bridge” located on I-495 in south Wilmington. Dr. Chajes & Dr. Shenton led the research, where they wire 60 strain gauges to the bridges, along with trigger sensors. When certain strain levels were triggered, readings were taken from all sensors. This would help bridge engineers understand what conditions produced the most damaging situations for the design.

With Dr. Puleo, our task was twofold, and focused on the integration of a camera based system for the project. Firstly, it would be nice to have a snapshot of traffic conditions upon activation of the strain gauges. Are there more trucks than usual? Is traffic density higher than usual? Etc. And second, to produce an algorithm to extract quantitative traffic data from the video footage. This would include: timestamp data, traffic volume, vehicle speeds, and vehicle type.

Taking a snapshot of traffic upon trigger is easy. Writing an algorithm to pull quantified traffic counts, speeds, and vehicles types from video is challenging. We weren’t inventing the wheel here, I want that to be clear, as other universities had done this before us. Dr. Puleo had extensive experience with coastal shore monitoring and camera applications, so he was a good professor for the task.

After about a year and half, he wrote a paper on our experience, results, and submitted it to DelDOT. They funded our research :)

For more about me, follow my story on social media @JakeVoor


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