Hitachi Automotive Systems has announced today that it has developed technology for its in-vehicle stereo cameras that enables highly accurate detection of small road surface irregularities while driving, including holes and small debris.
Moving forward, by combining this detection technology with vehicle suspension systems, Hitachi Automotive Systems plans to develop a drive control system that can adjust vehicle stability in response to road surface conditions. This in turn will contribute to improved driving safety and comfort.
Driving an automobile on an uneven road not only reduces driving comfort, but also causes the vehicle to act in an unstable manner, which can affect safety. Thus, there is a need for a drive control system that can adjust driving stability in response to road surface conditions. Hitachi Automotive Systems has been developing the detection technology required to realise such a control system that can identify tiny changes in road surfaces with a high level of accuracy.
Hitachi Automotive Systems' in-vehicle stereo cameras can sense the distance and location of people and objects such as pedestrians and other vehicles to a high degree of accuracy by calculating parallax information-the difference between the images obtained by the two left and right cameras-with extreme precision. However, to detect irregularities and small debris on a road, the company had to overcome the challenges of preventing false positives caused by dirt and shadows on the road surface, and reduction of detection processing time.
Hitachi Automotive Systems has developed an application that addresses these challenges together with the Research & Development Group of Hitachi Ltd and the Automotive Products Research Laboratory at Hitachi America, the Hitachi Group's North American regional headquarters. Specifically, the application makes it possible to distinguish between actual irregularities and dirt or shadows, with short processing times, by leveraging the unique characteristics of Hitachi Automotive Systems' stereo cameras, which continuously acquire precise parallax information while also combining and analysing image information.
Going forward, Hitachi Automotive Systems plans to further develop this drive control system that combines detection technologies with suspension systems to adjust driving stability to match the particular road surface.