April 27, 2017

Van safety could be revolutionised with this new black box

van safety

In a world first, a 3D ‘black box’ for vehicles using a solitary dash cam has been demonstrated by Roke Manor Research.

Developed from a military system, the new black box captures data via vision processing (footage from the dash cam) to produce an accurate 3D reconstruction of a road traffic incident.

Demonstrated using an autonomous Toyota Prius, the technology – tentatively called ‘vPinPoint’ – Roke showed how the data collected by the dashcam is processed to provide a reconstruction of an accident.

Could Van safety get a boost?

This technology will offer insurers, drivers and manufacturers of driverless vehicles independent evident of sequence of events leading up to a crash. This is of particular interest to manufacturers of autonomous cars as the technology will help build public trust in the concept, as well as creating safer vehicles.

The first versions of the technology were developed by Roke for the military as part of research undertaken on behalf of the government’s Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). The system has been refined and optimised over the past year with funding assistance from Innovate UK.

David Cole, Roke’s managing director said: “The funding from Innovate UK is essential in helping Roke remain at the forefront of autonomous and sensing technology. With 60 years of research under our belt, the money invested has the benefit of world-class engineers with experience across the defence, commercial and national security sectors.”

Head of transport for Innovate UK, Roland Meister said: “Innovate UK and the centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles are excited to be able to support UK research and development into connected and autonomous vehicles. The Industry-led feasibility studies such as Roke’s ‘black box’ solution are great examples of UK capability in this area and we expect to support many more projects over the coming years.”

Roke consultant engineer Dr James Revell added: “Unlike current dashcams, the technology we tested today uses computer vision algorithms to enable the precise position and orientation of any vehicle – car, bike, lorry or autonomous vehicle. This allows for near-perfect 3D reconstruction of any accident to be created even if the vehicle loses complete control.”

So, the technology at this point is restricted to autonomous and connected vehicles – but it could be extended to traditional vehicles in time. Nevertheless, it’s definitely a welcome advancement in the motor industry.

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