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Opel's camera reads the signs

2008-06-19 12:28
Opel, Insignia, OpelEye

Forget about the rear-view camera, Opel now has a forward facing camera that can also read road signs.

Known as the Opel Eye, the wide-angle, high-resolution camera and its processors were jointly developed by GM engineers and specialists from supplier Hella.

The camera is located between the windshield and rear-view mirror and detects road signs and markings. No bigger than a cell phone, it takes up to 30 pictures per seconds, while two processors filter and read the images.

Depending on light conditions, the system can recognise signsfrom 100 metres. It does this by recognising circular patterns and identifying the numbers within. If this image matches an image of a road sign contained in the car's software, it will be displayed on the driver's instrument panel.

“As we were working with the Opel Eye, we enhanced the systems’ capabilities to impressive levels. On German highways, for example, lanes sometimes have different speed limits. The Opel Eye is able to correctly register the relevant one every time,” said Dr. Christoph Schmidt, engineering group manager of GME Electronics.

The system also incorporates a clever lane departure warning system that, apart from the usual gong when straying across lanes, also warns when another car is travelling in a blind spot, is stopped in an area where it would be difficult to see and alertsthe driver when another car is about the enter the same intersection.

The Opel Eye is being introduced as an option on the all-new Opel Insignia. It will filter down to other Opel products in the future.

GMSA has confirmed that it has no plans to bring the Insignia to South Africa, yet.

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