Educating Cameras to Keep Drivers Safe: Updates from the CSU ADAS Team

Written by: Garrison Bennet

Car safety features have come a long way from anti-locking braking technology. Today, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) ask not what drivers can do for car safety, but what cars can do for driver safety. The Colorado State University (CSU) ADAS team is working on this solution by developing technology that can pump the brakes all by itself. However, in order for a car to know when to brake, it first has to be able to detect when it is close enough to getting into an accident.

This is where it is up to the CSU ADAS team to create a system that recognizes when an accident is about to occur. Humans accomplish this task by using not only our eyes but also our minds; we continuously process immense amounts of information to understand the situation around our vehicle. Similarly, a vehicle’s vision system requires not only cameras but also complex programs that identify objects, measure how far away they are, and perform many higher level assessments. Giving a camera advanced vision capabilities is no easy task, but it is a challenge the ADAS team is willing to take.

Before a car can know when to brake, it first has to know what it’s looking for. The objective for the ADAS team this year is to ensure that they have developed the technology that can recognize when the car is close to getting into an accident. Beyond using cameras to capture the environment, the use of radar and laser systems help recognize the objects and determine how close or far away they are.

Developing this system takes time. Thousands of images of vehicles have to be used to train the camera vison software so the system knows what to look for. Other tasks include tests like the ones shown below, to see if the system is correctly detecting and measuring the distance to particular objects. One major problem is making sure the system can tell the difference between a vehicle and other objects, such as a piece of trash on the road. Through persistent trials and tests, the ADAS team will have an advanced system that is ready to keep drivers safe.