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3D Stereo Camera System as the Next Generation Backup Camera
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Eric Gregori
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I spent much of the weekend working on navigation software for my Kinect based mobile robot, 

which means I spent a lot of time staring at color coded depth information.

It was with this color coded depth information in mind, whoile backing out of my driveway, that it occured to me.

"Why not have the color coded depth information superimposed on the video from a backup camera?"

 

My SUV, like most SUV's, has a backup camera.  The problem with the system is there is no depth information on the screen.  Some vehicles supplement the backup camera with ultrasonic range finders. The ultrasonic ranging systems do provide depth information but the information is limited in detail.  It basically provides the distance to the single closest object behind the vehicle.  We had a ultrasonic system in our old van, it would always setoff an alarm if we left the sunday paper at the end of the driveway.

 

A better way would be to use stereo cameras in the back of the vehicle.  The stereo cameras would feed into a black box that would calculate a depth map based on the offset images from the stereo cameras.  The depth map could then be displayed on the monitor in the vehicle using "standard" color coding (dark red = close, yellow = not close, green = far).  There could even be shades of red to yellow to green representing how far and object is from the back of the vehicle.

 

The depth map could be shown alongside the image from one of the cameras on the monitor, or between views from each camera.

 

I did a quick internet search and I did not find anything resembling this concept out in the wild.  I did find an interesting article about using 3D cameras in vehicles, but they were not talking about processing the data, simply displaying it on a 3D monitor.

 

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/there-may-be-3d-in-your-car-before-its-in-your-living-room/