Every day, millions of people take photos. Using the viewfinder on their camera or display on their smartphone, they encounter those cool animated boxes that frame objects in the photo image. Simply put, an entire consumer base is discovering the merits of image detection and adapting it to their daily lives.
The use of image detection in automotive is now rising to new levels of sophistication as more automakers introduce technologies that effectively warn drivers of objects and pedestrians in their path, and apply steering and braking control if drivers don’t respond. Ford is the latest automaker to adopt the technology and announced today that Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection will debut on the 2015 Ford Mondeo that goes on sale in Europe this year and will later roll out to other Ford and Lincoln vehicles around the world.
Sensing the complex environment around a moving vehicle requires serious processing power and sophisticated software development that goes way beyond simple image detection, particularly if drive systems are to be controlled. And rigorous testing of these advanced systems in simulated and real-world environments is crucial to their proper implementation.
“The real-world testing was an important part of the development because pedestrians in an urban setting can present a wide range of potential situations,” Scott Lindstrom, Ford’s manager of Driver Assist Technologies, said in a statement regarding the company’s new Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection system. “We covered more than 300,000 miles on three continents that included a wide range of settings and situations.”
Realizing that the development of advanced collision warning systems (and V2X technologies) are fundamental to the introduction of autonomous vehicles, Mercedes Benz recently began its own laborious testing in a controlled environment. It can be argued that controlled proving-ground environments are not challenging enough for the technology to be properly tested, and that urban environments are too challenging for today’s systems. But the evolution of this system testing is encouraging.
From an adaptation standpoint, however, we are pleased that image detection technology is spreading to more vehicles and at lower costs to consumers. And aftermarket solutions exist that provide driver assist features that are on par with OEM systems.
Image detection is a feature that most people understand, and we believe this will help in the wider adaptation of other advanced driver assist features yet to come.