Automobile control research opens door to new safety features (w/ Video)

Apr 06, 2010
North Carolina State University researchers have written a program that uses algorithms to sort visual data and make decisions related to finding the lanes of a road, detecting how those lanes change as a car is moving, and controlling the car to stay in the correct lane. Credit: Ben Riggan, North Carolina State University

Researchers from North Carolina State University have created a computer program that allows a car to stay in its lane without human control, opening the door to the development of new automobile safety features and military applications that could save lives.

"We develop computer vision programs, which allow a computer to understand what a is looking at - whether it is a stop sign or a . For example, this particular program is designed to allow a computer to keep a car within a lane on a highway, because we plan to use the program to drive a car," says Dr. Wesley Snyder, a professor of electrical and at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. "Although there are some vision systems out there already that can do lane finding, our program maintains an awareness of multiple lanes and traffic in those lanes."

Specifically, Snyder and his co-authors have written a program that uses algorithms to sort visual data and make decisions related to finding the lanes of a road, detecting how those lanes change as a car is moving, and controlling the car to stay in the correct lane.

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The computer vision program allows a computer to understand what a video camera is looking at. The program uses algorithms to sort visual data and make decisions related to finding the lanes of a road and detecting how those lanes change as the car is moving. The program also recognizes relevant road signs. Credit: Shep Pitts, North Carolina State University

"This research has many potential uses," Snyder says, "such as the development of military applications related to surveillance, reconnaissance and transportation of materials.

"This computer vision technology will also enable the development of new automobile safety features, including systems that can allow cars to stay in their lane, avoid traffic and gracefully react to emergency situations - such as those where a driver has fallen asleep at the wheel, had a or gone into diabetic shock. This can help protect not only the car that has the safety feature, but other drivers on the road as well. That's a next generation of this research."

Explore further: Computer scientists win a major grant to network mobile devices in the cloud

More information: A paper ("Concurrent visual multiple lane detection for autonomous vehicles") describing the research will be presented in Anchorage, AK, May 4-6 at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, which is chaired by Snyder.

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trekgeek1
not rated yet Apr 06, 2010
Very good. I tried to write a stop sign detection algorithm last year for a class. It is really difficult to isolate a stop sign from other red objects or signs. One problem I see is that you must keep the lens of the camera clean. Just like windshield wipers for the windshield, we'll need similar systems for the camera lens or put the lens behind the windshield.
sophi
not rated yet Apr 07, 2010
That’s great to hear! Please let us know what you think of it. I am greatly enjoying it, myself. Thanks for your update.