9. Driver visual recognition support method using image processing

The presence of large members in the driver’s cab or in gangways can narrow a driver’s field of vision (Fig. 1). In order to reduce these blind spots, new image processing technology has been employed in a method to project the external obstructed viewpoint onto a display, such as a monitor, so that the driver can see through the blind spot as naturally as possible. Generally, it is not possible to install a camera on the back of the member blocking the extension of the line of vision of the driver. Consequently, as shown in Fig. 2, a forward facing camera is used, positioned at a different angle to capture the obstructed view. A virtual screen is inserted into the camera image to reflect the projected view. A method was then developed that makes it possible to project the image on the virtual screen onto a display: the 3-D coordinates in the four corners of the virtual screen are converted to 2-D coordinates and a projection conversion program was built and used to project the coordinates of the four corners onto the projection display.

A prototype set of equipment was built where the blind spot image, processed in about 10ms, was projected onto a monitor located to the side of the driver’s seat. This in-situ test confirmed that the driver’s natural line of vision could be reproduced (Fig. 3). Applying this equipment as a visual support to the driver can eliminate blind spots that prevent the driver from seeing some stop-position signs, etc. which alleviates driver load.

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