Cameras to monitor car occupant as safety feature

Researchers develop a new assistance system that detects the movements of all occupants in the car and analyzed. Another step is to allow and to autonomous driving.

Whether the children in the back seat throw with modelling clay, the driver turns around or the passenger on the phone rumdaddelt “InCarIn” know it. The strange name is the acronym for “intelligent car interior”, a new system of assistance for the car. Cameras and sensors capture the entire interior here. And their data are evaluated in a software by means of algorithms, which are still in development. Goal is to know what who is doing in the car at any time.

Cameras to monitor car occupant

The research serves autonomous driving, more precisely: the part autonomous driving.

Because when a vehicle even fully independent, then the activities in the Interior are probably also relatively matter. But not if the technique must recognize, whether, for example, the driver steers straight his attention on the road and therefore has control or not.

Cameras identify size and posture

Researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System technology and image analysis for industrial engineering IAO in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe IOSB develop the system together with companies such as Bosch and Volkswagen. “The number of persons, their size and their posture recognize about depth cameras, we collect the vehicle interior. We derive from the activities of the people”, explains Dr. Michael Voit, group leader at the IOSB. Depth cameras are devices that produce not only images, but about the timing of light pulses to measure also distances and capture so the exact distance of numerous points in the image in real time.

Turns around the driver, for example, to the children, sitting in the back seat, could at this moment the system on a monitor represent the video image of the rear seat so the driver can focus immediately on the road and still sees what the children do, says voit. In addition, the system sensors could estimate how long to take the driver to the automated driving to completely take over the control of the vehicle.

Airbags may be individually adjusted

Another possible use would be to customize the airbag function to the body size and also the posture of each occupant. But until then, the researchers have to go up a notch: the challenge lies mainly in the analysis of the recorded data. The software reliably recognize people and their limbs also she could trace the movements by using a type of skeleton, which puts it about the person images.

New cars by Volkswagen in the VW Autostadt car towers plant in Wolfsburg: VW and Bosch contribute to the development of an assistance system that detects the movements of all occupants in the car and analyzed. Photo: Volkswagen

But a big hurdle still is how the system should detect with which subject a person just deals. “When you consider that in principle every object in the vehicle can be brought, limits of detection must be held somewhere. We are therefore basic requirements, by we tell the computer where about sunscreen and glove box are”, explains Voit.

So far the scientists cameras and software in the Simulator have tested, now it will be practically tested in a minivan.