Having looked at how VIA Mobile360 Sense can combine cameras and radar in an ADAS solution, we now move on to looking at how cameras can also be augmented with ultrasonic proximity sensors to produce a 360° surround view system with enhanced proximity awareness. Again it’s a case of fusing the sensor data from two sources to give the system improved intelligence and a clearer picture of what is going on around it – kind of like adding a pair of ears, to a set of eyes.
The VIA Mobile360 Surround View System (SVS) typically involves four FOV 190° cameras positioned on each side of the vehicle. These cameras are connected via FAKRA cables to a ruggedized computer vision system, typically the VIA Mobile360 M820 or M810. Using VIA Multi-Stitch technology, the view from the four cameras is sewn together to create a clear panoramic view of the vehicle from above. This is delivered in real-time to the driver via a ruggedized display mounted inside the vehicle.
Having the ability to see all four sides adjacent to the vehicle is of course useful when reversing around a corner or attempting other maneuvers, but in reality the driver’s attention and focus will be on the road ahead for the majority of time behind the wheel. This is a why proximity alerts can provide a very important secondary role in avoiding accidents and collisions.
Cameras plus Ultrasonic Sensors
We added eight ultrasonic proximity sensors to the sides of our test vehicle, two on each side. Ultrasonic sensors use sound waves which are emitted at high frequencies that humans cannot hear. The sensor measures the time it takes for the sound waves to be reflected and return, similar to how radar uses radio waves to detect objects. If the sound waves encounter an object (such as a pedestrian or a vehicle), its position can be calculated. All of this happens almost instantaneously.
Once correctly configured, these sensors combine to detect all objects in the vicinity. In the video below, three proximity zones are represented by three different colors. The black dots represent objects (in this case, people) within the zones. Audio alerts keep the driver aware of instances when an object is dangerously close to the vehicle.
The video demonstrates how the data from the ultrasonic proximity sensors can be fused with the surround view video stream, with proximity alerts visually represented by lines when a person, or object is detected. To assist the driver, who has eyes on the road ahead, audio alerts can be configured to make the driver aware of any object or person entering the sensor zone, ensuring that collisions can be avoided.
The demo is an example of how VIA Mobile360 Sense takes data from two different types of sensor and fuses them together to create a clearer, more informed picture of the vehicle’s surrounding environment. While this can be seen as a crucial step towards the autonomous vehicles of tomorrow, today this technology can be used seen as a valuable in-vehicle safety system that saves lives by preventing accidents and collisions on the road.