Last month, General Motors announced that the new Opel & Vauxhall Insignia from will feature camera-based traffic sign recognition, with the camera also providing signals for the vehicle’s lane-keeping function. The dual-purpose camera system is provided by Hella of Lippstadt, Germany.
Continental say they will be supplying camera systems to two European automakers within the next half-year, including the new BMW 7 series, making its debut at the Paris show in October.
Bosch also have a European customer for a camera-based system. “We plan series production in 2009,” spokesman Thomas Knoll said.
Camera system can recognize traffic signs, enable high-beam assist, allow floating high-beam assist, enable LDW, enable collision warning and avoidance systems, control adaptive lighting, and reduce cost of automated braking systems.
The ability to read traffic signs is sure to generate many headlines and much public fascination, but it is the further capabilities of camera systems that interest automakers and suppliers most.
Christian Amsel, executive vice president of vision systems at Hella, believes camera technology will be swiftly adopted as it can enable a whole range of new safety benefits at little extra cost. “Within the next two years, all automakers in Europe will launch traffic sign recognition,” Amsel said.
Hella’s Amsel said one of the next functions for the camera system would be automatic high-low beam switching with optically based collision warning the next step after that.
Hella are working with a carmaker on the 2013 introduction of a stereo-pair camera system which offers pedestrian detection and collision avoidance without the need for costly radar or lidar. Continental say they can include lane departure warning, high-beam assist, object detection and adaptive lighting functionality. GM, Hella and Continental officials expect the cost to the customer of the combined sign recognition and lane-keeping system will be in the hundreds of Euro.
A big advantage, Hella’s Menge said, is that you only have to pay for the camera once. “That’s about €200 but you can implement several functions for the cost of only a little extra computer power. Soon we will have four of five functions through a single camera.”