3D Accident Investigation

VUFO continuously enhances their investigation methods through using and developing current engineering technology. Therefore, we have been testing an imaging laser scanner for the usage in a high amount of traffic accidents since 2016.

Scanner image of an end position
Figure 1: Scanner image of an end position

laser scanner:

A laser scanner is a non-contact device that gather 3D digital data from a variety of objects with more than 1.000.000 points/second. It is based on a reflectorless distance measurement. An inte-grated camera allows a photographic documentation. Five points have been crucial for the integra-tion of a scanner in the GIDAS 3D - Project:

  • Accomplishment of the requirements for an advanced accident scene and da-ta investigation for further applications

  • High benefit through a realistic model of the environment, marks and further contributing factors

  • Reproducible measurements of static values like longitudinal gradient or cross slope

  • Future cooperation with OpenDRIVE

  • More extensive evaluation possibilities: point cloud, polygon model, photo-realistic 3D – model, orthogonal view, 2D – map

Illustration of the scene of the accident
Figure 2: Illustration of the scene of the accident

A laser scanner allows to capture images of all accident objects fast and with high resolution. Fur-thermore, there is the possibility to investigate accidents by geometry as well as by color infor-mation. This allows a better detection of contributing factors like marks etc. In addition, the inte-grated camera allows a better photorealistic view.

View of a colored point cloud model image
Figure 3: View of a colored point cloud model image

Video 1: Darstellung der Punktwolke einer gesamten Unfallstelle

Video 1: Point cloud

The big advantage of 3D scanning is the entire measurement on the spot. Accidents can be collect-ed on their original shapes in a short length of time. A cloud with millimeter precision enables even complex marks for visibility and digitalization.

Visible traces in the 3D point cloud
Figure 4: Visible traces in the 3D point cloud

Video 2: Mark documentation and end position of a point cloud

Today the laser scanner is available on the investigation of every accident and is being used on de-mand. Thereby it is relevant at the following criteria:

  • Accidents including view obstacles

  • Accident scene including a relevant longitudinal gradient or cross slope

  • Accidents including difficult marks

Use of a laser scanner at an accident site
Figure 5: Use of a laser scanner at an accident site

Requirement for a reasonable recording of the scene is a well-defined process. Therefore, it is of great interest to focus on the location of the scanner. All involved participants, marks, pre-crash trajectories and surroundings have to be visible.

Complex track of a traffic accident in a point cloud
Figure 6: Complex track of a traffic accident in a point cloud

Video 3: Details of a scene of accident - night shot

Video 3: Details of a scene of accident - night shot

Illustration of the individual laser viewpoints
Figure 7: Illustration of the individual laser viewpoints

Using special software packages enables the creation of the following results:

  • Point cloud processing: – registration and filter

  • 3D – modelling: triangular mesh, optimization, reduction and reconstruction

  • CAD – sketches: 2D – plans, 3D – CAD – models

  • Photo-realistic textures: realistic colorization trough photo documentation

Ortho-image with road guidance
Figure 8: Ortho-image with road guidance
Meshed model
Figure 9: Meshed model
DXF in point cloud
Figure 10: DXF in point cloud