Autonomous Driving: Permanent Environmental Recognition

Reading time ( words)

Autonomous vehicles are important elements of new mobility systems. For these vehicles to act autonomously and safely in traffic, they must be able to exactly recognize their environment. Within the framework of the “OPTICAR” project, experts of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), FZI Research Center for Information Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and MYESTRO Interactive GmbH have developed a research and test platform for stereo camera systems. The collaborative project is aimed at making these systems more precise and robust. 

“Exact recognition of the traffic situation around a car is the prerequisite for the successful use of autonomous vehicles,” Matthias Pfriem, Manager of the “Karlsruhe Priority Region for Mobility Systems” cluster and scientist of KIT’s Institute of Vehicle System Technology, says. Apart from lidars, radars, and ultrasonic systems, also wide-angle stereo cameras can be used for an autonomous vehicle to recognize its own position and that of objects in its environment. This is required for the precise execution of driving maneuvers, such as overtaking or lane changes. 

Images recorded by stereo cameras allow for a depth perception of the environment comparable to spatial vision by a pair of eyes. They provide information about the position, distance, and speed of objects. Together with their industry partner MYESTRO, scientists of KIT and the FZI Research Center for Information Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology developed a demonstrator vehicle scaled 1:4 that is equipped with six of such camera pairs all around. These cameras cannot only measure the closer environment. Virtual interconnection of cameras from different camera pairs increases the distance of the cameras up to the total vehicle width or length. Hence, also objects located further away can be recognized precisely. As a result, depth maps of the environment can be produced. 

The stereo cameras transmit their data via Ethernet to an embedded, high-performance image processing computer that continuously generates an overall picture of the traffic situation in the environment in real time. A special challenge consists in the vibrations of the vehicle body during operation. These vibrations change the orientation of the cameras towards each other and make the determination of useful image information more difficult. The “RubberStereo™ technology” developed by MYESTRO directly recognizes and compensates these vibrations in real time by comparing the image data of the camera pair. 

The OPTICAR vehicle is planned to be used for testing new technologies and to serve as a demonstrator in academic education. Thanks to its open design, the test vehicle can also be extended by additional modules, such as radars, maps, or Car2X communication depending on the research problems analyzed. 

“OPTICAR” is part of the topic “Automated and autonomous mobility” of the Karlsruhe Priority Region for Mobility Systems (Profilregion Mobilitätssystem Karlsruhe). This cluster funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer Society connects regional partners in the area of mobility research. Apart from 19 chairs of KIT, four Fraunhofer institutes, the Fraunhofer project group for new drive systems (NAS), Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, and the FZI Research Center for Information Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology participate. Partners of large and medium-sized enterprises are integrated as well to ensure close cooperation between science and industry.


Suggested Items

OFFSET 'Sprinters' Encouraged to Share Innovative Ideas for Swarm Systems

10/16/2017 | DARPA
DARPA’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program envisions future small-unit infantry forces using small unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and/or small unmanned ground systems (UGSs) in swarms of 250 robots or more to accomplish diverse missions in complex urban environments.

DARPA’s Drive to Keep the Microelectronics Revolution at Full Speed Builds Its Own Momentum

08/28/2017 | DARPA
To perpetuate the pace of innovation and progress in microelectronics technology over the past half-century, it will take an enormous village rife with innovators. This week, about 100 of those innovators throughout the broader technology ecosystem, including participants from the military, commercial, and academic sectors, gathered at DARPA headquarters at the kickoff meeting for the Agency’s new CHIPS program, known in long form as the Common Heterogeneous Integration and Intellectual Property (IP) Reuse Strategies program.

DARPA's Assured Autonomy Program Seeks to Guarantee Safety of Learning-enabled Autonomous Systems

08/17/2017 | DARPA
Building on recent breakthroughs in autonomous cyber systems and formal methods, DARPA today announced a new research program called Assured Autonomy that aims to advance the ways computing systems can learn and evolve to better manage variations in the environment and enhance the predictability of autonomous systems like driverless vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Copyright © 2018 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.