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April 12, 2005
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations, (218) 726-8830, slatto@d.umn.edu
Dr. Taek Kwon, Professor, UMD Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, (218) 726-8211, tkwon@d.umn.edu


UMD Professor Awarded U.S. Patent for
Transportation Visibility Measurement System


Dr. Taek Kwon, Professor in the UMD Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded a U.S. Patent for his Transportation Visibility Measurement System . Dr. Kwon developed a video camera based atmospheric visibility measurement system that provides automated measurements of atmospheric visibility during both the day and night. The patent was awarded in early February.

For daylight measurements, the system views an image that has contrasting portions. A representative contrast signal is generated for contrasting portions of the images. The representative contrast number is used to generate an exponential curve of contrast levels versus distance.

Atmospheric visibility is determined by detecting at which point the exponential curve reaches a threshold of visibility. Dr. Kwon's invention overcomes the disadvantages and limitations of the prior technology by providing a system that can accurately measure atmospheric visibility in a manner that is similar to how the human eye perceives atmospheric visibility. The system can also interface with existing equipment that is used for other purposes, such as a video camera, allowing additional verification of automatic visibility measurements made by the system.

Dr. Taek Kwon is a Professor in UMD's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a researcher and Co-Principal Investigator in the Northland Advanced Transportation Systems Research Laboratories in the College of Science and Engineering. He is also the senior transportation researcher at UMD with current projects underway to develop sensors and systems to support rural roads.




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