Lane-Departure Warning Using a Wide-angle Camera - Making Driving Safer

How difficult is it to accurately identify curves in the road with a wide-angle camera?

The rainy season is about to end, signaling the start of summer, when people often visit vacation spots by car with family and friends. Recently, renting and sharing cars rather than using private cars has become commonplace, so the number of people driving cars unfamiliar to them is increasing. As such, people who maybe tired still want to feel safe and where possible avoid traffic incidents as they return home from an enjoyable day.

Recently, new safety technologies to adjust speed based on the recognized distance between two cars and issue alerts based on detected obstacles ahead are becoming more and more common. One such technology is a lane-departure warning system that indicates to drivers when cars are deviating from their lanes. Practical use of this system is expected to make driving environments safer if this technology can be realized using a drive-recorder camera, which are increasingly used in taxis, buses, and other commercial vehicles.

Previously, devices equipped with a lane-departure warning system used narrow-angle cameras capable of understanding how roads and lanes extend and curve based on their ability to check distance far ahead. These cameras differ from those used for drive-recorders. Drive-recorders use wide-angle cameras to view a wide environment ahead of the vehicle; while wide-angle cameras take in a broader range, previously they have not been suitable for checking distance. For this reason, accurately understanding curves and correctly recognizing double white lines using these cameras is difficult.

96% performance accuracy using a wide-angle camera

However, Fujitsu has successfully developed a proprietary technology for predicting the correct configuration of actual road lanes with high accuracy using image data from a wide-angle camera. This technology has a recognition performance accuracy of 96%, which is equivalent to that of a device using a narrow-angle camera or better. With this development, Fujitsu has realized a drive-recorder that also features a lane-departure warning system.

By adding this feature to drive recorders, which have increasingly widespread use, rather than conventional specialty lane-departure warning system devices, a safer driving environment can be realized for far more drivers. Furthermore by introducing this feature to car rental and shared services, drivers unfamiliar with the vehicle they are using can still feel safe. In the future, locations with high potential risk of lane departure could be identified based on driving records, to prevent accidents or issue warnings before vehicles approach these areas. Fujitsu aims to implement practical use of this technology during fiscal 2014 to help minimize traffic accidents.