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By using an onboard camera, it is possible to detect the free road surface ahead of the ego-vehicle. Road detection is of high relevance for autonomous driving, road departure warning, and supporting driver-assistance systems such as vehicle and pedestrian detection. The key for vision-based road detection is the ability to classify image pixels as belonging or not to the road surface. Identifying road pixels is a major challenge due to the intraclass variability caused by lighting conditions. A particularly difficult scenario appears when the road surface has both shadowed and nonshadowed areas. Accordingly, we propose a novel approach to vision-based road detection that is robust to shadows. The novelty of our approach relies on using a shadow-invariant feature space combined with a model-based classifier. The model is built online to improve the adaptability of the algorithm to the current lighting and the presence of other vehicles in the scene. The proposed algorithm works in still images and does not depend on either road shape or temporal restrictions. Quantitative and qualitative experiments on real-world road sequences with heavy traffic and shadows show that the method is robust to shadows and lighting variations. Moreover, the proposed method provides the highest performance when compared with hue-saturation-intensity (HSI)-based algorithms.