New camera technology recognizes driver to adjust settings, monitor road obstacles, and prevent theft
Visteon Corporation is addressing the challenge of driver distraction through a new cockpit concept that uses multiple cameras in the vehicle to keep a constant eye on both the driver and the road ahead.
The new camera-enhanced cockpit concept from Visteon Electronics – designed with input from consumers – uses cameras to automatically enlarge certain driver controls, thus limiting the time needed to operate them and helping prevent potential collisions. The concept also recognizes the driver to adjust settings while helping prevent theft. Visteon’s system offers potential improvements over other camera-based systems by providing a simple user interface, and through the efficient way in which it could be integrated into the vehicle.
“Auto manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to reduce driver distraction while enhancing user experiences, and this new cockpit concept addresses both issues,” said Anthony Ciatti, electronics innovator. “This solution offers advantages related to user-interface, anti-theft and safety to keep the driver focused on road and potential obstacles ahead.”
During a recent Visteon consumer research study, 80 percent of those surveyed reacted positively to Visteon’s camera-enhanced cockpit concept, which allows cameras to be integrated into various locations to provide optimal viewing angles. The cameras determine where the driver is looking and – paired with a microprocessor that calculates data from the cameras – can ascertain which center display panel controls the driver is eyeing. Based on this data, the system can automatically and instantly enhance these controls, making them easier to view.
This recognition capability can also be used to automatically adjust controls like seat position and side mirrors. In addition, it can help guard against theft by ensuring the vehicle’s engine won’t start in the event of a break-in – even recording images of the intruder. The front-facing camera captures obstacles ahead of the vehicle, such as pedestrians and road signs. A microprocessor calculates data from the front-facing camera and the driver cameras to ascertain the direction the driver is looking when pedestrians or important road signs appear – and to determine whether they have been seen. This information then can be relayed to the driver through an audible alert and a visual cue on the instrument cluster.
Visteon Electronics is currently showing the cockpit concept to various vehicle manufacturers with the goal of incorporating the technology into future vehicle programs.
This technology seems interesting despite its obvious added cost. What is interesting is the multiple usage of a single hardware (the camera) thanks to several software functions. Do you think they need a dedicated powerful ECU to perform that image processing calculation?