Is the transport sector a new field of application for vision technologies or has it already established itself?
In the automotive sector, cameras have been in use for years, e.g. for rear view cameras. Recently, new applications have been added to the range of applications, while at the same time the demands on image quality and image processing have increased. Vision technologies in the automotive sector are therefore a growth market with constantly increasing quality requirements.
Which applications already exist and which can still be developed or expanded in the future? What is the greatest potential?
Rear view and front view cameras are often already standard equipment in motor vehicles. Newer safety-related systems in which cameras and thus image processing are used include lane departure warning, lane change assistant, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, night vision infrared and emergency braking system for pedestrian protection. Wherever cameras increase the safety of road users and provide drivers with additional information, there is great potential for the use of camera systems.
What tasks does vision technology perform in automobiles and why is it predestined for them?
Particularly, vision technologies are used in the field of driver assistance systems (ADAS). ADAS are electronic auxiliary devices in motor vehicles to support the driver in certain driving situations. Safety aspects, but also the increase of driving comfort are often in the foreground. The vision systems perform the main tasks and are often supported by other technologies such as radar or LiDAR.
What special technical properties must image processing systems in automobiles fulfill and what challenges still lie ahead?
The use of vision technologies in the automotive sector places special demands on cameras: The desire for a wide image field, e.g. for Surround View, causes strong image distortions that have to be calibrated. In addition, the camera system must be able to cover a wide dynamic range of intensity, for example to detect lane markings in a dark tunnel with a view of the tunnel exit. In addition, the camera system must be robust against vibrations, strong temperature fluctuations and dirt. These are just a few of the challenges that need to be considered during design, assembly and testing.
What are the requirements on the production technologies for the further development of cameras for driver assistance systems? An essential challenge lies in the increasing demands on the quality of the images. Higher resolutions require larger pixel numbers, often accompanied by smaller pixel dimensions and decreasing depth of field of the lenses. The systems for aligning and testing the cameras must also meet this challenge. Accordingly, TRIOPTICS systems are becoming more and more precise in the optical measuring equipment and in the accuracy of the mechanical systems. The typical requirements of the automotive industry for optimum productivity and availability can only be met with reliable system technology and fast processes. The algorithms for controlling and monitoring the systems are constantly being further developed for this purpose. The use and analysis of data now plays a major role here. On the one hand, to provide information for the traceability of products and for integration into higher-level production systems, on the other hand, to create additional advantages through optimal cycle times and reduced plant downtimes through intelligent and foresighted processes in line with Industry 4.0.
What contribution does your company make in the field of traffic systems and what do you plan for the future? TRIOPTICS product groups ProCam® and CamTest include a variety of different devices for active alignment, assembly and testing of high-resolution camera modules and other optical sensor systems. Especially in the field of automotive safety-related applications, it is necessary that the cameras used deliver reliable and optimal image quality. This is ensured by the active alignment of lens and sensor to each other and extensive test procedures. TRIOPTICS works permanently on the further development of these technologies and cooperates with important manufacturers of leading driver assistance systems (ADAS).