No more hassle looking for a parking space or trying to squeeze into a tight one: Continental, the international automotive supplier, used a prototype vehicle to demonstrate how automated parking can be achieved based purely on Surround View cameras.
“Since cameras like this will increasingly become an optional vehicle feature in the future, it stands to reason that we should use them for as many functions as possible,” said Wolfgang Fey, Director of the Surround View segment of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit of Continental’s Chassis & Safety Division.
Continental had already demonstrated a back-up assist at an event in May at the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) in Ismaning, Germany. This system uses the rear camera of a Surround View system to prevent collisions when reversing. “The Surround View system’s fish eye cameras are ideal for automated parking, because they capture the entire surroundings of the vehicle,” said Alfred Eckert, Director of the Advanced Engineering Department in Continental’s Chassis & Safety Division. “For example, their wide aperture angles even permit views into angled parking spaces. And the cameras also detect the white parking space boundary lines, something that traditional ultrasonic sensors can’t do.” Thanks to the prototype automated parking system provided in the demonstration vehicle by the Advanced Engineering department, the technology company has expanded the application range for the camera technology that forms the basis for Surround View.
Using existing cameras for parking
Four fisheye cameras are installed in the demonstration vehicle – one at the front in the grill, one at the rear and one at the base of each side mirror. Each camera has an aperture angle of more than 180°, so the four cameras cover the entire vehicle environment in a 360° all-round view. This all-round view is displayed to the driver on a touch screen inside the car together with vacant parking spaces that are identified as being wide enough. The driver first touches the image of one of the available parking spaces onscreen, and then activates the automated parking command. It makes no difference here whether the parking space is parallel to the roadway or at right angles to it. Basing its actions on the grid map of the surroundings created by the image interpretation of the driver assistance system, the vehicle now takes over the complete parking operation, including gas pedal control, steering, changing gears, stopping and locking the parking brake in the final position.
Surround View – a technology with further potential for expansion
The driver can change the parking position proposed by the system by simply shifting the vehicle’s outlines in any direction on the touch screen. This option allows the driver to respond to specific features which even a high-performance object recognition system would find hard to interpret, such as a delivery vehicle parked in front of or behind the own vehicle and requiring more maneuvering space than a car.
In the future, automated parking based on Surround View cameras will also enable the driver to remain outside the vehicle while parking maneuvers are performed. The parking operation can be started remotely. “In Remote Parking, the driver uses the touch screen to select the parking space and activate the Remote mode. He can then leave the vehicle and use the app on his smartphone touch screen to initiate and observe the automated parking operation,” explained Eckert. The driver only has to keep the operation going by touching a relevant button of the app developed by Continental, and the vehicle will automatically maneuver into its final parking position. In the current version, the parking brake is activated at the end of the parking operation, but the engine continues to run and the vehicle doors remain open. In a future series production system, that will no longer be the case; the vehicle doors will be locked and the engine will be switched off.
During the course of the system’s further development, the currently achieved progress will be transferred step-by-step into a scalable and production-ready system that can provide one or more assistance functions for the overall vehicle network. Based on Surround View, these functions will include a cross-traffic assistant and a back-up assist with automatic braking when reversing.