The international automotive supplier Continental presented a new potential application for Surround View camera technology. At an event with the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) in Ismaning near Munich, Continental demonstrated a driver assistance function based exclusively on this camera.
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 demonstration 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. This allows drivers to better estimate the distance to objects in their surroundings,” explains Wolfgang Fey, Director of the Surround View Segment of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Business Unit within Continental’s Chassis & Safety Division. “However, we see additional applications for the surround view systems. These include automatic brake intervention while reversing, a cross traffic assistant and automated parking.”
At the joint event with the AZT, 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 nearly every other accident is a parking and maneuvering-related accident and 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 project leader Dr. Johann Gwehenberger from the Allianz Center for Technology.
Back-up assist helps reverse maneuvering
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 have a 360° view of the vehicle’s surroundings without any gaps. Objects in the vehicle’s path which obstruct the space needed for maneuvering are recognized in the image analysis. Continental uses the image analysis from the rear camera for the back-up assist in order to avoid a collision with objects behind the vehicle. The electronic control unit for the Surround View system is connected to the vehicle’s electronic brake system and automatically brakes when a collision with a recognized object cannot otherwise be avoided.
“Compared with the most common technologies currently used for this purpose, Surround View camera technology has several advantages,” says Dr. Benedikt Lattke, Project Manager for Surround View in the Advanced Engineering department of the Chassis & Safety Division. “These include its range of up to 15 meters 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, 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 recognize 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 are required for all new vehicles in the country beginning in 2017. As the back-up assist can be used without any components beyond the rear camera, it offers additional added value as a vehicle function. Continental continues to work on the development of assisted and automated parking with the goal of avoiding collisions with objects next to the vehicle during parking and maneuvering, as damage to the passenger side of vehicles is responsible for a large amount of damage payments for insurance companies.