Leveraging Acoustic Signals for Vehicle Steering Tracking with Smartphones

Xiangyu Xu, Jiadi Yu, Yingying Chen, Yanmin Zhu, Minglu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Given the increasing popularity, mobile devices are exploited to enhance active driving safety nowadays. Among all safety services provided for vehicles, tracking the rotation angle of steering wheel in real time can monitor the vehicles' dynamics and drivers' behaviors at the same time. In this paper, we propose a steering tracking system, SteerTrack, which tracks the rotation angle of the steering wheel in real time leveraging audio devices on smartphones. SteerTrack seeks a device-free approach for steering tracking without requiring installation of specialized sensors on the steering wheels nor asking drivers to wear sensors on their wrists. Since the steering wheel is operated by a driver's hands, the rotation angle of the steering wheel can be tracked based on movements of the driver's hands. SteerTrack first builds an acoustic signal field inside of a vehicle and then analyzes the echoes reflected from the driver's hands with relative correlation coefficient (RCC) and reference frame to track the movement trajectory of hands under different steering maneuvers. Given the tracked movement trajectory, SteerTrack further develops a geometrical transformation-based method for estimating the rotation angle of the steering wheel in 3D driving environments by projecting the steering wheel to a 2D ellipse. Through extensive experiments in real driving environments with five volunteers for several weeks, SteerTrack can achieve an average steering wheel estimation error of 1.48 degree during driving, and 4.61 degree for turns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8643334
Pages (from-to)865-879
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Acoustic signal sensing
  • smartphone sensors
  • steering tracking


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