Surface Systems & Instruments, Inc.

Test Track & Off-Road Profiler

Scan High Roughness or Off-Road Environments With a Survey Profiler or Accelerometer Only System

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At a Glance

Scan off-road trails and high roughness durability test tracks with a modified CS9500 Survey Profiler or an accelerometer only system. Systems have been used around the world for durability measurements and trail classifications. 

 

CS9400-OR Simple Offroad Profiler

The CS9400-OR accelerometer only system converts any vehicle into a track profiler. Two accelerometers, one for each wheelpath, can be temporarily mounted inside the vehicle. The only sensor outside the vehicle is a GPS antenna. The report is an IRI value scaled for suspension response. These results yield collections that can be compared against each other. 

 

CS9500-OR & CS8700-OR Point Cloud Track Scanning

Each collection can yield wheelpath IRI and point cloud data. All lasers can be mounted at least 40-inches (1016mm) off the ground to avoid debris. Collection speeds vary with longitudinal sampling interval, with slower collection speeds allowing 5mmx5mm resolution. The system can have variable transverse collection widths depending on the number of lasers used.

All of the point cloud data can be imported into SSI's SurveyCorrection program to achieve survey elevation tolerances when control points are supplied. 

The off-road point cloud profiling system has these core features:

  • DOT Certified (AASHTO R56-57, ASTM E950) inertial profiler integrated within system
  • SSI CAD program to merge control points into dataset for secondary correction
  • Intensity displays lane lines and delineation
  • Scalable: Start with dual track profile, add Cross-Slope, Transverse & 3D Scanning
  • Supports full lane width 3D scanning and rut measurement
  • Merges RTK GPS or control points for precise 3D elevations
  • Generate surface designs for best smoothness & machine control 
  • Configurable slope, cut/fill parameters, optimized for IRI
  • DOT Certified inertial profiler for IRI Testing
  • Outputs data in CAD and LIDAR formats (e.g.) PNEZD, PLLHD, GPGGA, LAS and configurable TXT

  

 

Features & Benefits

 

Proven Accuracy in Measuring Cross-Slopes

Cross-slopes are obviously critical to accurate surface topographies. The off-road profiler has a unique and robust cross slope measurement system. The instrumentation, proprietary to SSI, combines inertial profiler sensors with a vehicle dynamics measuring IMU. As proof, below are repeatability and accuracy comparisons for SSI inertial profiler cross slope measurements. The results are based on 20 same-surface data collections (10 runs in one direction and 10 the reverse direction).  The random test surface is 500ft long and included readings with reference data established by smart-level (with 0.1% resolution) every 10 ft (2 readings per spot flipping the level around and averaging). As depicted below, comparing every single spot on all 20 runs, the maximum difference in slope measurements was -0.175%. Thus on the test surface the SSI inertial profiler was within 0.2% slope accuracy 100% of the time. 96% of all of the collections were within 0.1% of smart level readings.

Trial 1

Forward Direction Cross-Slope Measurements (Reported at 10 Foot Intervals for 500 Feet)

 Accuracy of SSI inertial profiler Cross-Slope: (Comparison with Smart Level)

100% of comparisons within 0.175%. 96% of comparisons within 0.1%.

Repeatability of SSI inertial profiler Cross-Slope: (Comparison of 10 Same Surface Runs)

Average Difference (% gradient): -0.01716087

Overall % of measurements within 0.1 (% gradient): 0.960869565

Minimum/Maximum Differences (% gradient): -0.055 (min) -0.175 (max)

 

 Trial 2

Reverse Direction Cross-Slope Measurements (Reported at 10 Foot Intervals for 500 Feet)

Accuracy of SSI inertial profiler Cross-Slope: (Comparison with Smart Level)

100% of comparisons within 0.175%. 96% of comparisons within 0.1%.

Repeatability of SSI inertial profiler Cross-Slope: (Comparison of 10 Same Surface Runs)

Average Difference (% gradient): -0.016445652

Overall % of Measurements within 0.1 (% gradient): 0.956521739

Minimum/Maximum Differences: -0.08 (min) -0.149 (max)

 

Create 3D Topos with Near Total Stations Accuracy Using Control Point Merger

The off-road profiler system collects full lane width scans at highway speeds.  Unlike a competing survey manufacturer’s scanning system, there is no need to do repeat collections to rely on the average of several runs to “fix” issues within the individual ones.  3D surfaces are created in SSI’s post-processing engine, and for improved elevation accuracy, control points can be added using the SSI CAD software (see below).  The resulting surface can then be output (at configurable longitudinal and transverse intervals) to CAD and LIDAR formats for use in third party applications for pavement design and machine control. 

 

Example of Data with Control Points Merged 
(Visualization Using SSI CAD Software)

 

The survey elevations within the data can be improved to near total stations accuracy by adding known control points to the surface data. SSI supplies the software to do just that and regenerate the adjusted surface. The table below characterizes the improved surface elevation accuracy when control points are added at the indicated spacing.  The data is from a test pavement with independently collected total stations control points. As shown, the off-road profiler data with control points merged at any spacing less than 1000-ft produced a surface accurate to within 7 mm more than 95% of the time.

 

 

Control Data Merger:  Accuracy Based on Separation Interval

 

The figure below shows the improved elevation accuracy when control points are merged at shorter spaced intervals. While the off-road profiler data shows improved elevation content with control merged at any point along the test surface, the elevation accuracy is nearest to total stations accuracy when merged at tighter spacing. 

 

 

Increased Accuracy Based on Control Data Merge Interval

 

Create Open Area 3D Topos with Multiple Run Stitching 

The off-road point cloud system is capable of stitching multiple, separately collected passes into a single open area topography. SSI’’s CAD software utilizes proprietary post-processing algorithms to build an accurate unified topography stitched together from several separate data collections. The figures below show an open area surface in third party CAD software generated after stitching together several separate point cloud scans.

 

 

Example of Multiple Lane Surface Stitched from Individual CS9500 Data Collections

 

Lidar Formats Supported for Use of Laser Intensities for Reflectivity Visualization 

The offroad profiler instrumentation collects surface intensity data. Once the surface is built in SSI’s post-processing engine, the data can be converted to the .LAS LIDAR format for working with surface reflectivity attributes in third party CAD software. The Figures below are examples.

 

 

 

Sample Multi-lane Outputs

 

 

 

Hardware & Software

The CS9400-OR accelerometer only system mimics the software and hardware attributes of a traditional inertial profiler. The accelerometer only unit collects data through the SSI Profiler software. This data can be analyzed, edited, and exported immediately after collection. 

Hardware

The point cloud off-road profiler hardware attributes include the following:

  • DOT certified inertial profiler for IRI smoothness testing (compliant with AASHTO M328, R054, R056-057 ASTM E-950, and state/provincial agency specifications).
  • Scalable: Add transverse profile system for rut depth and other measurements under AASHTO PP69-10 & 70-10.  Transverse profile measured with ultra-wide beam lasers (1280 points each across 2.3ft / 0.7m).  
  • Scalable: Add IMU for cross-slope and 2D profile design, corrected GPS and control data for 3D survey.
  • Quickly generate dense, open area 2D or 3D surfaces.
  • Highest resolution scanning outputs transverse profiles at 0.5” spacing and longitudinal spacing at 1-3“(speed dependent).  Surfaces generated by patented process combining inertial profiler, IMU and corrected GPS data sets.  
  • Add occasional control points for tighter, more accurate elevation data—near total stations accuracy!
  • Multiple configurations available; examples:
    • 2 laser track profiles, IMU and GPS for 2D relative profile.
    • 3 laser track profiles, IMU and corrected GPS/control data for 3D Topo.
    • 6 laser full lane width profile, IMU and corrected GPS/control data for highest resolution 3D Topo.
  • Choice of vehicle platforms: Lightweight Profiler or Pickup truck. Other configurations available for any suspension-based vehicle
  • High speed system attaches to front or rear of host vehicle.
  • One setup for multiple passes, slopes, and lanes.
  • Corrected GPS with RTK post processing (3D system).
  • Supports use of customer GPS base units.  
  • Works with third party machine control systems for variable depth milling, paving or grinding.
  • Detachable core components minimizes risk of damage or theft.  
  • Panasonic Toughbook rugged operator interface computer with solid state hard drive.
  • Software license for desktop computer or workstation sue.

 

Software

The off-road point cloud profiler software attributes include the following:

  • Ride quality, rut depth, and cross-slope reporting in accordance with agency specifications 
  • Wheelpath data compatible with ProVal
  • User configurable data collection and analysis parameters
  • Easy software for calibration, collection and analysis of data on in-vehicle Toughbook; software license for use on desktop PCs
  • Patented process combines Inertial profiler data with IMU and corrected GPS/Control for 2D/3D surfaces
  • Dense surface data for better designs
  • Create a design file with 2D or 3D survey data in conventional survey formats, but with higher resolution
  • Use surface data in SSI Profile Design module to analyze existing surface and optimize design for best smoothness values
  • Configurable design parameters for slope, cut/fill and smoothness
  • Data compatible with third-party CAD design software
  • Design flexibility—resurvey surface to assess changes as project build progresses. Build based on the true surface profile
  • Surface designs work with both milling and paving machines
  • Separate or combined data formats: profile only, slope only, GPS only, or integrated 2D/3D survey data
  • Multiple export formats:  PNEZD, PLLHD, LAS, Excel, CSV, ERD/PPF, Custom TXT & PDF
  • Precisely calculate areas of localized roughness for corrections or bonus/penalty results
  • On-screen GPS navigation along profile data
  • Surface data complies with all DOT & Industry specifications
  • Web based issue reporting and automatic software updating

 

 

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At a Glance

Scan off-road trails and high roughness durability test tracks with a modified CS9500 Survey Profiler or an accelerometer only system. Systems have been used around the world for durability measurements and trail classifications. 

 

CS9400-OR Simple Offroad Profiler

The CS9400-OR accelerometer only system converts any vehicle into a track profiler. Two accelerometers, one for each wheelpath, can be temporarily mounted inside the vehicle. The only sensor outside the vehicle is a GPS antenna. The report is an IRI value scaled for suspension response. These results yield collections that can be compared against each other. 

 

CS9500-OR & CS8700-OR Point Cloud Track Scanning

Each collection can yield wheelpath IRI and point cloud data. All lasers can be mounted at least 40-inches (1016mm) off the ground to avoid debris. Collection speeds vary with longitudinal sampling interval, with slower collection speeds allowing 5mmx5mm resolution. The system can have variable transverse collection widths depending on the number of lasers used.

All of the point cloud data can be imported into SSI's SurveyCorrection program to achieve survey elevation tolerances when control points are supplied. 

The off-road point cloud profiling system has these core features: