Saturday, July 4, 2009

BMW's Virtual Hazard Detector

BMW has come up with a new level of technology for use in an automobile. According to this patent application, BMW is working on using laser and thermal imaging sensors to detect potential hazards in the road and alert the driver to those hazards by rendering a virtual image of the upcoming obstacle to the driver. Here's a quote from the patent application:

At least one laser scanner provided in the vehicle scans the surroundings in front of the vehicle and determines the shape of an object and the distance of the object from the vehicle. At least one infrared camera, in particular a thermal imaging camera, is provided on the vehicle. The infrared camera records the surroundings in front of the vehicle and makes available the real or virtual image of the surroundings for display to the driver. The object is compared with at least a first reference object within the scope of a first pattern recognition process. If there is significant correspondence between the object and the reference object, that area on the real or virtual image displayed to the driver in which the object is to be found is determined, and the respective area of the image and/or the respective object is highlighted in the image.

Looks like we are very quickly approaching the point where driving a car will become more like piloting an F16. Below is an image from the patent application showing how the system will work.

No comments:

Post a Comment