Black Ice Warning System

Introduction: Black Ice Warning System

Our design is a sign that illuminates when icy road conditions are possible warning drivers to proceed with caution. We have created a metal sign that is white with a blue LED snowflake design. The snowflake has evenly spaced blue lights that light up when directed by the Raspberry Pi. All of the technology will be on the back of the sign. The wiring for the lights, the relay, battery pack, Raspberry Pi, and thermometer are also on the back. The sign works in a relatively simple way. The energy from the power source will travel to the Raspberry Pi system turning it on. The Raspberry Pi will use its programming to control the DHT11 sensor that will read the air temperature. Once the temperature is below 35 degrees Fahrenheit (or one degree Celsius), the Raspberry Pi will send a signal to the lights and turn them on causing the sign snowflake to light up with blue lights.

Supplies

  1. Metal and PVC sign with a Snow Flake Design
  2. Drill bit (1/4 inch )
  3. Drill
  4. Blue "Fairy" Light (30 per string) ( At least 4 strands)
  5. Raspberry Pi 3
  6. Extra Wire
  7. Solder and Soldering Materials
  8. Raspberry Pi Relay
  9. Raspberry Pi compatible wiring
  10. Monitor
  11. Keyboard
  12. Battery Pack (can hols 3 AA Batteries)
  13. Raspberry Pi Compatible Thermometer

Step 1: Step 1 : Research Problem

One thing we learned about our problem is that it is much bigger than one might think. Crashes caused by invisible ice on the roads make up about 3% of all crashes and about 2% of all crash fatalities, according to http://icyroadsafety.com/fatalitystats.shtml.

Also, according to http://icyroadsafety.com/fatalitystats.shtml, there are about 530,000 crashes related to black ice every year, meaning about 1,400 crashes every day on average. 1,800 of those 530,000 crashes involve death, meaning about an average of 5 deaths a day in crashes related to black ice. I haven't found any other solutions like ours. The closest things I have found are road signs that simply read "Watch out for black ice," and warning displays in some vehicles when there is potential for icy roads. The downside to these solutions is that the sign does not light up and not all vehicles come equipped with the icy road warning. Neither of these draws much attention from the driver, and can, therefore, be ignored or looked over.

I haven't found any other solutions like ours. The closest things I have found are the road sign that reads "Watch out for black ice" and a warning that displays in some vehicles when there is potential for icy roads. The downside to these solutions is the sign does not light up and not all vehicles come equipped with the icy warning. Neither of these draws much attention from the driver.

Here are some more resources I used.

James Hoos (Raspberry Pi expert and owner of Rampart Computers in Bixby, Ok)James helped us program our Raspberry Pi and he also helped us troubleshoot when technical problems came up.http://icyroadsafety.com/fatalitystats.shtml

This website provided plenty of data on icy road crashes, fatalities, and deaths. It also provided additional data like which states and areas have the most fatalities and icy road fatalities compared to other natural disasters.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/dangers-black-ice-wake-n... how slick black ice can be for people and vehicles and shows how difficult it is to spot

Step 2: Step 2 : Construct Prototype (1)

Before I created the final and fully-functional prototype a first prototype was created. This prototype was designed to focus on spacing and lighting. This prototype did not have any Raspberry Pi technology. It was made out of Blue LED's and a black foam board.

Step 3: Step 3 : Analyze Prototype 1 and Build Prototype 2

After building this prototype I realized that the type of lights I used created 2 flaws. The first flaw is that the lights were not able to be connected to a power source that could connect to the Raspberry Pi. The second flaw is that the lights used had bulky wiring and were not very bright. Using this analysis a couple of changes were made when building Prototype 2. First, we used a different kind of lights. These lights can connect to the Raspberry Pi, relay, and connect to a power source that could be housed on the sign. When making this I used the black foam board again but this time the Raspberry Pi, the relay, light power source, and thermometer was attached.

Step 4: Step 4 : Code the Raspberry Pi

The end goal of the code was rather simple, turn lights on when the temperature drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Before I was able to do that I needed to program the Raspberry PI so is could receive and read the information given by the thermometer. Once done with that you go on to create a button of sorts. This is the code that will tell the lights to turn on when the temperature drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 5: Step 5: : Using the Code for Prototype 3 / Testing

I attached the Raspberry Pi, relay, lights, light power source, thermometer to the metal sign. After this, I tested the design. I tested our prototype in two different ways. First, I tested the accuracy of the thermometer in a controlled environment where the average temperature was about 21 degrees celsius. During our first two tests, I had issues with our thermometer and the wiring. I tinkered with it and soon our thermometer was giving us accurate results. I had three different tests conducted during the trial and error period. Once we were done testing the accuracy of the thermometer we conducted another test. The goal of this test was to see if the code that turned the light on worked. We tested by spraying canned air while it is flipped upside down. This creates a very cold stream of air. This lowers the temperature of the air around the thermometer, simulating what it would feel like in freezing temperatures. During this final test, we used safety goggles to protect from any excess coolant that came out of the bottle. See the result and how we tested our sign by watching this Youtube video: https://youtu.be/gzwXQVzDB_U

Raspberry Pi Contest 2020

Participated in the
Raspberry Pi Contest 2020

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