Sensing the pedestrians

A radar technology coupled with a vision system could provide an inexpensive way for automobile designers to provide a means for cars to ‘sense’ the presence of pedestrians and initiate automobile safety systems.

A radar technology coupled with a vision processing system could provide an inexpensive way for automobile designers to provide a means for cars to ‘sense’ the presence of pedestrians and initiate automobile safety systems in advance of a collision.

This ‘sensor fusion’ technology developed by Cambridge Consultants uses its own CCL-Softcar forward-looking radar that is used to ‘cue’ a vision system, reducing the amount of real-time processing required and lowering the cost of the system.

Once initiated by the radar, the vision system captures images and then performs an object classification operation on them. The system then uses radar scatter information, object movement information, shape and colour matching to distinguish humans from other moving objects.

Because of the 20 to 25 metre range of the radar and the speed of the digital signal processor used to process the images, there is time to initiate active safety measures on-board a vehicle if an accident is predicted. Among the impact mitigation measures under discussion by the industry are tilting the bonnet to lessen the severity of impact, firing external airbags, and assisting braking.

Cambridge Consultants’ sensor fusion technology is equally applicable to improving the performance of next-generation reversing aids, by providing the driver with a full colour display where the object classification software automatically identifies objects, along with approximate distance information, to help drivers take necessary action.

The new video-equipped CCL-Softcar demonstration system has been installed in a mid-range car, and is currently being shown to European automobile and accessory manufacturers.