Continental combines front and interior cameras
Automotive supplier Continental has developed a camera system which will enable systems in self-driving cars to recognize whether drivers are ready to drive manually.
One of the essential challenges of automated driving is safely transitioning from automated to manual driving. To tackle this issue, Continental has now developed a combined system that monitors both the driver and traffic around the vehicle. It consists of one inward-looking infrared camera and one outward-looking camera. The system is designed to monitor both the driver in their seat and the traffic situation, and to continuously detect whether the person is capable of taking responsibility for driving.
The “Road and Driver” camera should be ready to go into production by 2021
The camera data is constantly monitored by the accompanying software and shows, for example, whether the driver is paying attention or distracted, whether they are turning toward children on the backseat or looking at their smartphone, and whether their hands are on the steering wheel or otherwise occupied. The system does not store this data.
The “Road and Driver” camera is located behind the car’s windscreen and above the rear-view mirror – in the same place as the existing camera, the lens of which is aimed at the road ahead and provides the data for driver assistance systems. According to the manufacturers, the essential features of this new camera generation are its high image resolution, excellent night-vision function, and an aperture of up to 125 degrees, which enables it to detect objects crossing the street even earlier. Continental plans to have the system ready for production by 2021.
Adapting passive safety systems
The information transmitted by the interior camera will not only be analyzed to ensure a safe transition between driving modes. With the “Occupant Safety Monitor” software function, this information can also be used to optimize passive safety systems, such as seat-belts or airbags, for the current situation. For example, the deployment of airbags could be tailored to the situation detected in the interior, in order to maximize its protective effect.
The consumer protection organization Euro NCAP has placed the issues of driver monitoring and so-called baby or child monitoring in closed vehicles on its agenda. The aim is to improve road safety