Virtual A-Pillar Development Kit
Transparent A-Pillar technology has been under development at Continental for nearly a decade. The use case is compelling: an object up to one meter wide can be concealed at a distance of only four meters behind the forward pillar in many cases. In order to improve the safety of cyclists, pedestrians, children, and the vehicle occupants, Continental is dedicated to refining Virtual A-Pillar technology.
The VAP development kit, as deployed on both the left and right A-Pillar, is based on two high-brightness displays, separate image processing automotive-grade electronic control units, two driver-facing cameras, and two external automotive grade cameras. It can also be deployed only on one side of a vehicle if desired. Additionally, it can be deployed on the B-Pillars as well.
This development kit is ideal for the case that you would like to build one, or a few pieces, of a demonstrator, or proof of concept.
The kit concept assumes you will perform integration and calibration in house. However, CES also offers system application services such as integration, calibration, custom plastic parts, mounting brackets, and CAD modeling, all available at your request.
In support of your Virtual A-Pillar program, CES can also provide complete image processing chain simulation. The algorithm is applied in a customized simulation environment prior to vehicle buildup to correct for fisheye camera distortion, display curvature, and driver head position/movement. This can save time in the actual vehicle buildup as ideal mounting and configuration parameters are evaluated in advance.
The nominal system latency target is 50-100ms, although up to 200ms will still function quite well.
- This kit makes rapid prototyping possible, in contrast with designing complex anti-parallax, anti-flicker, and various other imagine processing algorithms yourself.
- The ECU provided for this kit is automotive grade, with professional connectors and cables. It is exceptionally robust.
- The kit can be deployed on one to four pillars, including A or B pillars. The most common configuration is to deploy on both A-Pillars.
- The kit has a modular design with separate ECU’s which can be conveniently located away from the A-pillar.
Continental‘s Virtual A-Pillar Honored in the First Automotive News PACEpilot Award Program in April 2020
Front support pillars have become progressively thicker to protect occupants in case of a roll-over accident. As columns become more robust, they become more prone to becoming a visual obstruction, and objects behind the pillars become increasingly challenging to detect. Continental has developed a method of placing curved OLED displays on the posts in combination with exterior camera technology, which allows the driver to observe objects in this blind spot directly. By using gaze and head tracking technology, the image can be finely tuned so that the image on the display lines up cleanly with real-world objects to minimize driver distraction while in use.
Transparent A-Pillar technology effectively increases the drivers forward-looking field-of-view and addresses the growing problem of widening A-Pillars.
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