Introduction to Measuring Vehicle Speed Using Smartphones: A Beginner's Guide

June 2, 2024
Basics and Technologies Involved in Vehicle Speed Measurement
Learn the basics of measuring vehicle speed using smartphones. Discover the technologies involved, including YOLOv8 and GPS, and understand how these can enhance driving safety. Perfect for beginners!
Gunn Kim
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Introduction In today's world, technology plays a crucial role in enhancing road safety. One innovative approach is using smartphones to measure the speed of vehicles, particularly those ahead of you. This can help drivers maintain safe distances and make informed driving decisions. In this three-part series, we will explore how to leverage smartphones and advanced technologies like neural networks to achieve this.

1. What You Need to Know About Speed Measurement Speed measurement involves calculating the distance traveled by an object over a specific period. In a car, speed is typically measured by GPS or vehicle sensors. However, for measuring the speed of the vehicle in front of you, we need to use computer vision and real-time data processing.
2. Key Technologies Involved
  • Computer Vision: The ability of a computer to interpret and process visual information from the surrounding environment.
  • YOLO (You Only Look Once): A state-of-the-art object detection algorithm that identifies objects in images and videos in real-time.
  • DeepSORT: An algorithm for tracking detected objects across multiple frames.
  • GPS: Global Positioning System used to determine the precise location and speed of your vehicle.
3. The Basics of YOLOv8 YOLOv8 is the latest version of the YOLO family, known for its accuracy and speed in object detection. It can identify various objects within a video frame, making it ideal for detecting vehicles.
4. Why Use a Smartphone? Smartphones come equipped with powerful cameras and GPS modules, making them suitable for real-time data collection and processing. Additionally, with the increasing power of mobile processors, running complex algorithms on smartphones is becoming feasible.
5. Setting Up Your Development Environment To start measuring vehicle speeds using a smartphone, you'll need to set up your development environment:
  • Python: A versatile programming language.
  • Libraries: Install opencv-python, pandas, ultralytics, and flask.
pip install opencv-python pandas ultralytics flask
6. Capturing Video and GPS Data You'll use your smartphone's camera to capture video and GPS to get your current speed. Optionally, you can use an OBD-II device for more accurate speed data.
Conclusion In this part, we covered the foundational knowledge and technologies needed for measuring vehicle speed using a smartphone. In the next part, we'll dive into the practical implementation, including setting up object detection and tracking.

  1. What is vehicle speed measurement? Vehicle speed measurement involves calculating how fast a vehicle is moving over a period. This can be done using various technologies like GPS, radar, or computer vision.
  1. Why use a smartphone for measuring vehicle speed? Smartphones are equipped with powerful cameras and GPS modules, making them capable of capturing video and location data in real-time. This makes them suitable for applications like speed measurement.
  1. What is YOLOv8? YOLOv8 (You Only Look Once, version 8) is a state-of-the-art object detection algorithm that can identify objects in images and videos in real-time with high accuracy.
  1. What are the key benefits of using computer vision for speed measurement? Computer vision allows for real-time detection and tracking of objects (like vehicles), providing more detailed and dynamic speed measurements compared to traditional methods.

  1. How do I install YOLOv8? You can install YOLOv8 through the Ultralytics library in Python using pip:
    1. pip install ultralytics
  1. How do I capture video using a smartphone? You can use OpenCV in Python to capture video from your smartphone’s camera. OpenCV provides functions to open the camera and read frames.
  1. What is DeepSORT and why is it used? DeepSORT (Simple Online and Realtime Tracking with a Deep Association Metric) is an algorithm that helps in tracking objects across multiple video frames, maintaining their identities.
  1. Can I test the system without a real smartphone? Yes, you can use prerecorded videos or simulate video input in a controlled environment to test your system.