EEGBM Student Yi Hang SIM (Keegan) Received First Runner-Up Award at the 2020 Mr. Armin and Mrs. Lillian Kitchell Undergraduate Research Award Presentation Ceremony for Work on Car Crash Detection by Acoustic Methods

On a Friday afternoon in early June, 2020, Electronic Engineering and General Business Management (EEGBM) student Yi Hang SIM (Keegan) presented a 5-minute version of his work at the Mr. Armin and Mrs. Lillian Kitchell Undergraduate Research Award Presentation Ceremony held over Zoom, where he was presented with the First Runner-Up Award.  The work was on an algorithm developed by a research team supervised by Prof. Kevin CHAU to detect and predict car crashes using acoustic methods.  Other teammates and significant contributors include Yijia CHEN (COSC) and Yuxuan WAN (CPEG).  The effort was generously supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

Today’s cars are equipped with a myriad of safety features such as radar, cameras, automatic braking and semi-autonomous driving, but these are currently insufficient to reach the goals of zero car crashes and fully autonomous driving.  Keegan’s work suggested using acoustic methods, which are not employed in cars but that could provide advantages such as being useful even in dark or foggy weather, to complement existing systems.  The algorithm presented utilizes the Discrete Wavelet Transform to isolate the sounds of the collision from those that occur immediately before the collision, e.g., honking and tire skidding.  It is hoped that by detecting the pre-crash acoustic events, advance warning can be provided to a car, and thus activate safety systems early to prevent crashes and save lives.

This work was orally presented at the 178th Meeting of the Acoustic Society of America (ASA) in San Diego in December 2019.  A paper with full technical details was published in the Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics by the ASA.  Keegan’s work has also spurred a popular physics article, entitled “How Acoustics Might Help Prevent Car Accidents”, on the Physics Buzz of the American Physical Society.

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Yi Hang SIM
Yi Hang SIM (Keegan) at the ASA Meeting in San Diego.


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