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Detecting Road Hazards with Sound

A joint social contribution project by Hankook Tire and SK Planet

Hankook Tire and SK Planet have jointly developed a "road risk detection solution." In collaborating on data and technology, the two companies have emphasized the importance of this social contribution project to mitigate any unexpected accidents due to sudden changes in the weather and the subsequent road condition changes.

  • Hankook Tire & Technology-Technology in Motion-Detecting any road risk with noise-1

"Accidents on icy roads and black ice have led to an increase in fatalities by 53% compared to accidents on dry conditions."

Hankook Tire & Technology-Technology in Motion-Detecting any road risk with noise-2

Heavy rain, snow, potholes, and other factors cause all kinds of danger on the road. Black ice, a clear glaze of ice on winter roads after precipitation mixes with pollutants, forms instantly and is invisible to the naked eye, which can be deadly. Black ice is 14 times more slippery than pavements in normal conditions. Especially on the highway, black ice can directly lead to life-threatening accidents such as chain collisions. Therefore, pretreating roads and snow removal are critical to preventing black ice from forming.

So, how can we detect the threat of road surfaces that remain difficult to identify with the naked eye? Hankook Tire and SK Planet focused on sound as a keyword to derive such answers. Although it is subtle, it was found that the tire friction noise differs depending on the road surface conditions.

Finding solutions with high-density data and technology

This social contribution project known as the Road Hazard Detection Solution began with the safety of all drivers in mind. As the first step, we commenced with the development by gathering the tire noise on all conditions of the pavements.

“There could be thousands, or tens of thousands of road noise characteristics based on various internal factors, such as tire patterns, size, and wear, and external factors, such as pavement types, age, and foreign substances," said a principal research engineer at Hankook Tire. "Therefore, the key was to measure and analyze the road noises under all possible conditions.”

Principal Research Engineer

Data collection was conducted at Hankook Tire's 20 tire performance testing sites, including Geumsan G'Track. Hankook Tire collected more than 600 sounds through roughly 200 runs under all possible conditions, including dry, wet, snow, slush, and icy conditions. The collected sounds were then converted into 45,000 pieces of data points by categorizing the road surface conditions into frequency characteristics through SK Planet's AI modeling technology. With the analyzed data, we developed a form of technology that can detect and identify hazardous road conditions in real-time, allowing road management agencies to prevent any accidents or alert drivers through road signages.

  • Image of the analysis after collecting road noise from the tire performance testing site

The beginning of safer driving

The collaboration between Hankook Tire and SK Planet is highlighted by creating the world's first-ever road hazard detection solution. This project is soon to be deployed on public roads. This solution provides easy integration due to an intelligent traffic management system with deep learning capabilities, and the opportunities are endless. Furthermore, the solution can be used in other countries to reduce fatal accidents if appropriate infrastructures are constructed.

Hankook Tire will continue to secure digital technology capabilities and research future technologies with leading technology research universities and companies for driver convenience and safety.