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Fish eye camera finds new application in ADAS

11 May 2015  | Christoph Hammerschmidt

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Continental's Surround View

Surround view cameras have a potential new application, thanks to efforts done by automotive supplier Continental. Their signals can be utilised to implement advanced driver assistance systems such as automatic braking when reversing, cross traffic assistant and automated parking.

The back-up assist helps to avoid collisions while reversing at low speeds. The technical basis is the integrated Surround View camera technology in the vehicle. It encompasses the entirety of the vehicle's surroundings in a 360° view and can be used for various functions.

"Until now, fish eye camera technology was used to assist drivers while parking by showing the vehicle from a bird's eye perspective and the vehicle path while reversing," explains Wolfgang Fey from Continental's Chassis and Safety Division. "However, we see additional applications for this camera. These include automatic brake intervention while reversing, a cross traffic assistant and automated parking."

Continental used a prototype vehicle to demonstrate the use of fish eye camera technology to actively assist drivers while backing up. The back-up assist combats one of the main causes of the typically minor, but overall costly damage which results from such collisions.

"As part of a current research project, we found out that almost 50 per cent of all accidents are parking and manoeuvring-related accidents; three out of four happen while backing out of a parking space or reversing. A suitable driver assistance system can significantly reduce the risks of accidents in the future," said Johann Gwehenberger from the Allianz Centre for Technology.

Four fish eye cameras are built into the prototype—one at the front in the grill, one at the rear and one at the base of each side mirror. Each camera has an aperture angle of more than 180°, making it possible to seamlessly cover a 360-degree view of the vehicle's surroundings. Objects in the vehicle's path obstructing the space needed for manoeuvring are recognised by the image processing software. The Surround View control unit is connected to the vehicle's electronic brake system and automatically brakes when a collision with a recognised object cannot otherwise be avoided.

According to Continental, Surround View camera technology has several advantages over the most common technologies currently used for this purpose, including a wider range of up to 15m and the recognition of markings. The longer range of the camera increases its flexibility, which allows the brake intervention strategy to be adjusted to the vehicle manufacturer and market expectations: from a late, powerful intervention to early and gentle braking. Combined with additional image analysis or other sensors, the robustness of the back-up assist can increase even more.

Another strength of the camera technology is its ability to not only recognise objects, but also classify objects, for example as pedestrians or cyclists. In the United States, surround view technology has potential for the rear view systems which from 2017 onwards will be required for all new vehicles. As the back-up assist can be used without any other components than the rear camera, it offers additional added value as a vehicle function, Continental said.

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