Top view camera assist for trucks and buses

September 18, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Fancy passenger cars have them already: Parking assists with top view representation oft he vehicle. For the start of the commercial vehicles exposition "IAA Nutzfahrzeuge" in Hanover, Germany, automotive electronics company Continental has demonstrated this feature for trucks and buses as well.

Continental's TopView system is not ready for serial production, but it is released for fleet trial. The system helps drivers of trucks and buses to keep track of their environment while they are parking or manoeuvring in tight environments.

The system uses four microcameras attached to the four corners of the vehicle and equipped with fisheye optics. An electronic control unit does not only stitch together the images of the cameras, its software also computes a top-down image as if the camera would be located on above the vehicle. Upon the push of a button the system also switches the perspective and displays the images provided by each single camera. Thus, it eliminates the "blind spot", helping to significantly improve the safety. If desired the system remains active when parked, enabling the driver to permanently monitor the surroundings of the vehicle and its freight.

According to Continental, the developers of its TopView system had to take into account the dimensions of the trucks which are significantly different from their passenger cars counterpart. In addition, easy integration into the vehicle infrastructure were factors. Currently, the company is already working on the next generation which will feature up to seven cameras. This will enable OEMs to integrate the TopView system into semi-trucks and articulated buses. Automatic identification of pedestrians and other traffic participants such as bicycles would be possible, Continental said.