Visualization and Animation Techniques in Accident Reconstruction

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Visualization and animation techniques allow an idea or process to be demonstrated or communicated in visual form. In the field of accident reconstruction, experts use graphics and 3D animation to explain anything from vehicular accidents to product defects and the view available to a driver at night. Using the latest software and computer technology, our experts can produce 3D animation, graphics, physical models, and virtual reality environments to clearly communicate a message.
The following peer-reviewed, scientific publications discuss these visualization techniques.

Nighttime Visibility in Varying Moonlight Conditions

The potential effect of moonlight is sometimes investigated when the visibility of an object or person in the roadway from a driver’s perspective is an issue. In this paper, methods typically used to quantify visibility were performed during conditions with no moon and with a full moon. The authors reveal the results of this testing about the quantifiable change in visibility distance attributable to added moonlight.

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The Application of Augmented Reality to Reverse Camera Projection

Reverse camera projection is useful for both determining the location of historical evidence, where it is no longer physically in existence, as well as for directing the investigator to evidence still at the site that may otherwise have been overlooked during a site inspection. With the introduction of augmented reality, an entirely digital process of this technique is now possible. This paper, which received an Excellence in Oral Presentation Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in 2019, both presents a digital methodology and provides reference to a publicly available, augmented reality application developed specifically for this process by the authors.

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Lateral and Tangential Accelerations of Left Turning Vehicles from Naturalistic Observations

When recreating collisions involving left turning vehicles at intersections, accident reconstructionists are often required to determine the relative timing and spacing between two vehicles involved in such a collision, as well as determine or prescribe a path and acceleration profile for the left turning vehicle. This paper expands on the results of the only two studies that have presented the tangential and lateral acceleration of left turning vehicles. The authors offer a methodology to automatically detect and track vehicles in a video file. This data can be used to prescribe realistic values or ranges to accelerations of left-turning vehicles.

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Motorcycle Headlamp Distribution Comparison

The forward lighting systems on a motorcycle differ from the forward lighting systems on passenger cars, trucks, and tractor trailer. The beam pattern, and as a result, visibility, provided by the headlamps on a motorcycle are unique for motorized vehicles. This paper measures the headlamp beam patterns of nine motorcycle headlamps and shows that the headlamps can have a large difference in the beam pattern and performance between motorcycles.

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Determining Position and Speed through Pixel Tracking and 2D Coordinate Transformation in a 3D Environment

This paper presents a methodology for determining the position and speed of objects such as vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists that are visible in video footage captured with only one camera. The authors explain the automated process of first tracking pixels in the video footage, and then remapping the 2D coordinates onto three dimensional geometry using projection mapping and photogrammetry techniques.

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Nighttime Videographic Projection Mapping to Generate Photo-Realistic Simulation Environments

Nighttime driving environments contain complex lighting conditions such as forward and signal lighting systems of vehicles, street lighting, and retro reflective markers and signage. This paper discusses processes for creating simulated driving environments by utilizing the realistic manner in which cameras capture complex lighting environments, and combining this imagery with projection mapping techniques that result in a photorealistic environment where variables for different driving scenarios can be changed to create a number of driving environments for testing, evaluating, and visual representation.

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Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning in Vehicle Accident Reconstruction

This paper discusses commonly used tools and methods for documentation of accident scenes and vehicles, compares their accuracy, and highlights the advantages and disadvantages between them. The specific benefits and applications of laser scanning, which can capture incredibly detailed 3D data sets of complex environments and large-scale geometry in a matter of minutes, are also discussed.

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Evaluation of Photometric Data Files for Use in Headlamp Light Distribution

Computer simulation of nighttime lighting in urban environments can be complex due to the myriad of light sources present, including vehicle headlamps. Within a lighting simulation, photometric files are often used to simulate light sources such as street lamps and exterior building lights in nighttime environments. This paper examines the validity of using these same photometric file types for the simulation of vehicle headlamps by comparing the light distribution from actual vehicle headlamps to photometric files of these same headlamps.

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Simulating Headlamp Illumination Using Photometric Light Clusters

Nighttime crashes often involve complex lighting conditions. The visibility of an object at night is largely due to the luminance contrast between the object and its background. This difference depends on many factors, one of which is the amount of illumination produced by a vehicle’s headlamps. This paper focuses on a method for digitally modeling a vehicle headlamp, such that the illumination produced by the headlamps can be evaluated.

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Evaluation of Discrete Vehicle Accident Sounds for use in Accident Reconstruction

Understanding how accident sounds are created is important for two main reasons in reconstruction. One reason is to better understand the events in an accident sequence that have not left visible physical evidence; such as witnesses who can share what they heard as well as their visual observations. Another reason is to be able to create more accurate simulated sound composites of an accident for use in forensic visualization. This paper looks at some of the many discrete sounds in a vehicle accident and evaluates how changes in the parameters of the accident sequence affect the resulting sounds.

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Methodology for Physics-Based Sound Composition in Forensic Visualization

Without sound, a visual representation of an accident will lack important information. The use of sound in forensic visualization provides the viewer a more realistic and comprehensive understanding of actual accident events. Currently, there is no methodology for compositing sound in an animation to follow the principles of sound and reflect the specifics of an accident. This paper describes a methodology for incorporating physically accurate sound composition in forensic visualizations.

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Video Based Simulation of Daytime and Nighttime Rain Affecting Driver Visibility

This paper presents a methodology for generating video realistic computer simulated rain, and the effect rain has on driver visibility. The techniques and methodologies presented in this publication rely on techniques of video tracking and projection mapping that have been previously published. The paper demonstrates that through these methodologies, video realistic simulated rain can be created that accurately represent the driver’s visibility in adverse weather conditions.

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Calibrating Digital Imagery in Limited Time Conditions of Dawn, Dusk and Twilight

Attempting to generate calibrated photographs and video during twilight conditions can be difficult, since the time available to capture the light changes rapidly over time. In contrast, during nighttime conditions, when the sun is no longer contributing light directly or indirectly through the sky dome, matching a specific time of night is not as relevant. This paper presents a methodology for accurately representing dawn and dusk lighting conditions (twilight) through photographs and video recordings.

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Visualization of Driver and Pedestrian Visibility in Virtual Reality Environments

The fundamental differences between the conventional forms of visualizations, like computer animations and graphics, and Virtual Reality (VR) are subtle. A VR environment can be understood as a series of two-dimensional images, stitched together to be a seamless single 360-degree image. The research presented in this paper compares the conventional methods of representing driver and pedestrian views through animations and visualization with a VR environment of the same content.

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This publication is for educational and general information purposes only. It may contain errors and is provided as is. It is not intended as specific advice, legal, or otherwise. Opinions and views are not necessarily those of J.S. Held or its affiliates and it should not be presumed that J.S. Held subscribes to any particular method, interpretation, or analysis merely because it appears in this publication. We disclaim any representation and/or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness, quality, or applicability of any of the contents. You should not act, or fail to act, in reliance on this publication and we disclaim all liability in respect to such actions or failure to act. We assume no responsibility for information contained in this publication and disclaim all liability and damages in respect to such information. This publication is not a substitute for competent legal advice. The content herein may be updated or otherwise modified without notice.

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