London: Researchers have designed a new system for cars that can detect pedestrians upto 40 metres away in low visibility conditions such as nighttime driving.
Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) in Spain designed the system which is made up of infrared cameras that capture body heat.
The system uses images captured by far infrared with two thermal cameras to identify the presence of individuals in their field of vision.
The objective is to alert the driver to the presence of pedestrians in the path of the vehicle, and even, in the case of cars with automated systems, actually stop the vehicle.
"With the model being used in our research, pedestrians up to 40 metres away can be detected, although this distance could be extended if we substitute the lens with one that has greater focus range," said one of its designers, Daniel Olmeda, from the Intelligent Systems Laboratory (LSI) at UC3M.
The functioning of the system, explained in an article published in the journal Integrated Computer-Aided Engineering, is based on new techniques of image pattern recognition.
"The algorithm developed detects pedestrian presence according to certain silhouette features, because we have confirmed that the contour of objects in infrared images have congruent phase features that do not vary with temperature and contrasting," said Olmeda.
This type of device could be easily installed in a commercial vehicle, researchers said.
In fact, car models already exist that incorporate cameras in the visible spectrum and integration of a system based on far infrared would not be very different, they said.