Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20060091813 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/301,472
Publication dateMay 4, 2006
Filing dateDec 13, 2005
Priority dateApr 2, 1997
Also published asCA2284496A1, CA2284496C, DE69802511D1, DE69802511T2, DE69820682D1, DE69820682T2, EP0971829A1, EP0971829B1, EP1129902A2, EP1129902A3, EP1129902B1, US5837994, US5837994, US6255639, US6653614, US6919548, US20020005472, US20040069931, US20050242740, WO1998043850A1
Publication number11301472, 301472, US 2006/0091813 A1, US 2006/091813 A1, US 20060091813 A1, US 20060091813A1, US 2006091813 A1, US 2006091813A1, US-A1-20060091813, US-A1-2006091813, US2006/0091813A1, US2006/091813A1, US20060091813 A1, US20060091813A1, US2006091813 A1, US2006091813A1
InventorsJoseph Stam, Jon Bechtel, John Roberts
Original AssigneeStam Joseph S, Bechtel Jon H, Roberts John K
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Control system to automatically control vehicle headlamps
US 20060091813 A1
Abstract
An automatic vehicle headlamp dimming system which includes an optical system and an imaging processing system. The optical system is configured to discriminate between headlamps and tail lamps, and focus the light rays from the headlamps and tail lamps on different portions of a pixel sensor array. The optical system as well as the image processing system provides for relatively increased discrimination of headlamps and tail lamps of other vehicles and also enables the high beam headlamps of the control vehicle to be controlled as a function of the distance as well as horizontal angular position of other vehicles relative to the controlled vehicle.
Images(7)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(5)
1. A control system for automatically controlling the state of the head lamps of a controlled vehicle, the control system comprising:
an optical system for imaging external sources of light within a predetermined field of view, the optical system including an image array sensor and two or more lenses configured to image said predetermined field of view onto two or more corresponding portions of said array; and
an image processing system for processing images from said optical system and providing a control signal for controlling the head lamps as a function of the relative output of the pixels imaging said external sources of light.
2. The control system as recited in claim 1, wherein said optical system is fixed relative to said controlled vehicle.
3. The control system as recited in claim 1, further including means for filtering the light through said predetermined lenses.
4. The control system as recited in claim 3, wherein said filtering means includes a filter dye for said one or more lenses.
5. The control system as recited in claim 1, having a first lens and a second lens.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/180,346, entitled “CONTROL SYSTEM TO AUTOMATICALLY DIM VEHICLE HEADLAMPS” filed on Jul. 13, 2005, by Joseph S. Stam et al., which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/677,453, filed on Oct. 2, 2003, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,919,548, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/874,197, filed on Jun. 5, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,653,614, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/151,487, filed on Sep. 11, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,255,639, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/831,232, filed on Apr. 2, 1997, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,837,994. Priority under 35 U.S.C. 120 is hereby claimed as to each of the above applications and the entire disclosures of each are incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to a system for automatically dimming vehicle high beam headlamps.
  • [0003]
    Regulations set forth by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulate the light emissions of vehicle high beam headlamps. Various state regulations are used to control the amount of glare experienced by drivers of other vehicles whether the vehicle is traveling in the same direction as the controlled vehicle or in an opposite direction.
  • [0004]
    Known vehicle high beam headlamp emissions in accordance with the DOT regulations provide an intensity of 40,000 cd at 0 degrees, 10,000 cd at 3 degrees, 3250 cd at 6 degrees, 1500 cd at 9 degrees, and 750 cd at 12 degrees. An example of such an emission pattern is illustrated in FIG. 1. In order to avoid an illuminance of 0.5 foot candles (fc) incident on another vehicle, the vehicle high beam headlamps should be dimmed within 230 feet of another vehicle at 0 degrees, 115 feet of another vehicle at a horizontal position of 3 degrees relative to the datum, and 65 feet in the position of the other vehicle is 6 degrees relative to the controlled vehicle.
  • [0005]
    Various known head light dimmer control systems are known in the art. In order to prevent the drivers of other vehicles from being subjected to excessive glare levels, such automatic headlamp dimmer systems must sense both the head lights as well as the tail lights of other vehicles. While many known systems are adequately able to detect headlamps of oncoming vehicles, such systems are known to inadequately sense tail lights of vehicles traveling ahead of the control vehicle. As such, such systems are not able to automatically dim the high beam headlamps in time to prevent drivers of the vehicles travelling in the same direction as the controlled vehicle being subjected to excessive glare levels.
  • [0006]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,537,003, assigned to the same assignee of the present invention, discloses an automatic headlamp dimming system which includes an optical system for sensing tail lamps as well as headlamps. The '003 patent discloses a single photo diode with a mechanical scanning arrangement for scanning a predetermined field of view. Although the system provides relatively suitable sensing of headlamps as well as tail lamps, the optical subsystem is rather complicated and expensive to manufacture.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0007]
    It is an object of the present invention to solve various problems in the prior art.
  • [0008]
    It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a vehicle headlamp dimming system which eliminates the need for mechanical optical scanning systems.
  • [0009]
    It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a headlamp dimming system that is adapted to dim the high beam head lights at different distances as a function of the horizontal angular position of another vehicle relative to the controlled vehicle.
  • [0010]
    Briefly, the present invention relates to an automatic vehicle headlamp dimming system. The system includes an optical system and an imaging processing system. The optical system is configured to discriminate between headlamps and tail lamps and focus the light rays from the headlamps and tail lamps on different portions of a pixel sensor array. The optical system, as well as the image processing system, provides for relatively increased discrimination of headlamps and tail lamps of other vehicles and also enables the high beam headlamps of the control vehicle to be controlled as a function of the distance as well as the horizontal angular position of other vehicles relative to the controlled vehicle.
  • [0011]
    These and other features, advantages, and objects of the present invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following specification, claims, and appended drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0012]
    These and other objects of the present invention will be readily understood with reference to the following specification and attached drawing, wherein:
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1 is a top view illustrating the headlamp emission pattern of a conventional high beam headlamp.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2 is a side cross-sectional view of the optical system, which forms a part of the present invention illustrating light rays incident at a vertical angle within the desired field of view.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3 is similar to FIG. 2 illustrating the light rays incident at a vertical elevation angle beyond the desired field of view.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4 is a top cross sectional view of the optical system illustrated in FIG. 1 illustrating the light rays at a horizontal angle within the desired field of view.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 5 is a block diagram of the automatic head light dimming system in accordance with the present invention.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6 is an overall flow diagram of the image processing in accordance with the present invention.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 7 is a flow diagram illustrating the method for detecting tail lamps of vehicles within the desired field of view.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 8 is a flow diagram for detecting headlamps from other vehicles within the desired field of view.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0021]
    The automatic headlamp dimming system in accordance with the present invention includes an optical system as illustrated in FIGS. 2-4 and an image processing system as illustrated in FIGS. 5-8. In order to enable the high beam headlamps to remain on for the longest reasonable time without subjecting the driver of another vehicle to excessive glare, the automatic headlamp dimming system in accordance with the present invention controls the vehicle high beam headlamps as a function of the distance as well as the horizontal angular position of the other vehicle relative to the controlled vehicle. As will be discussed in more detail below, the optical system is adapted to discriminate between headlamps and tail lamps of other vehicles. The light rays from the headlamps and tail lamps of other vehicles are spatially segregated on a pixel sensor array to provide increased discrimination of headlamps and tail lamps relative to other ambient light sources, such as road signs and reflections from snow and the like. The optical system enables both the horizontal and vertical position of incident lights sources to be determined within the field of view of the optical system. The image processing system processes the pixels to provide for automatic control of the headlamps as a function of the distance and horizontal angular position of another vehicle relative to the control vehicle. As such, the system in accordance with the present invention is adapted to provide optimal control of the vehicle high beam headlamps by allowing the high beam headlamps to remain on for as long as possible while preventing the driver of the other vehicle from being subjected to an undue amount of glare.
  • [0000]
    Optical System
  • [0022]
    Referring to FIGS. 2-4, the optical system includes a pair of lenses 103 and 104, a lens holder 105, and an image array sensor 106. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the lenses 103 and 104 are vertically spaced apart in order to allow imaging of substantially the same field of view onto different portions of the same array. The lenses 103, 104 image generally the same fields of view because the distance between the lenses 103, 104 is relatively small relative to the light sources within the field of view of the device.
  • [0023]
    The lens 103 may be formed with a red filter dye for transmitting light with wavelengths greater than 600 nm and focusing red light rays 101 from tail lamps onto one-half of the image array sensor 106. The red filter dye causes the lens 103 to absorb all light rays at the blue end of the visible spectrum and transmit light rays at the red end of the spectrum. As such, the amount of light transmitted from non-red light sources, such as headlamps, is greatly reduced while light rays from tail lamps are fully transmitted through the lens 103. As such, the relative brightness of the light rays from tail lamps imaged onto the image array sensor 106 is greatly increased.
  • [0024]
    The lens 104 may be formed with a cyan-filtered dye for transmitting light with wavelengths less than 600 nm. The lens 104 is used to focus the light rays onto the other half of the image array sensor 106. The cyan filter dye has a complementary effect to the red filter described above. In particular, the red filter dye absorbs light from the blue end of the visible spectrum while transmitting light from the red end of the spectrum. As such, most of the light from sources, such as head lights, is transmitted through the lens 104 while virtually all of the light emanating from tail lamps is blocked.
  • [0025]
    Both headlamps and tail lamps emit a substantial amount of infrared light. By utilizing lenses with a filter dye or separate filters which inhibit light at wavelengths greater about 750 nm, the infrared light transmitted by the headlamps and tail lamps will be substantially blocked by the lenses 103 and 104. By eliminating infrared light, the ratio between intensity between red lights imaged through the red filter and red light imaged through the cyan filter will be substantially increased.
  • [0026]
    The use of the red and cyan dyes for the lenses 103 and 104 is merely exemplary. The filter characteristics of the lenses 103 and 104 are selected to optimize the sensitivity of the device to specific light sources. For example, the headlamps or tail lamps in new vehicles may be replaced with alternative light sources with different spectral composition, for example, with high intensity discharge headlamps and light emitting diode tail lamps requiring different filter characteristics. Depending on the spectral characteristics of the headlamps and tail lamps, transparent lenses 103 and 104 may be utilized with separate color filters.
  • [0027]
    The lenses 103 and 104 may be formed as acrylic spherical lenses. Alternatively, the lenses 103 and 104 may be formed as aspherical lenses in order to minimize color dispersion and spherical aberration present with spherical lenses. Complex lenses formed from both spherical and aspherical lenses are also contemplated.
  • [0028]
    A single lens may also be used in place of the separate lenses 103 and 104. The use of a single lens may be used to image the field of view onto a full or partial color image array sensor containing pigmentation on the individual pixels in the array.
  • [0029]
    As shown best in FIGS. 2 and 3, the horizontal distance between the two lenses 103 and 104 and the image array sensor 106 is slightly different. Offsetting of the two lenses 103 and 104 compensates for the color dispersion created as a result of the fact that the index of refraction of materials varies with the wavelength of light transmitted through it. Because the two lenses 103 and 104 transmit different portions of the visible spectrum, the distance between the lenses 103 and 104 and the image array sensor 106 is optimized to minimize the dispersion for the band of light transmitted by each of the lenses 103 and 104.
  • [0030]
    As mentioned above, the light rays 101 transmitted through the lens 103 are imaged onto one-half of the image array sensor 106 while the light rays 102 transmitted through the lens 104 are imaged onto the other half of the image array sensor 106. In order to provide such spatial segregation of the light rays transmitted through the lenses 103 and 104, the lens holder 105 is provided with cutouts 107 and preferably formed or coated with a light absorbing material. These cutouts 107 prevent light rays beyond the desired maximum vertical angle transmitted through the red lens 103 from being imaged onto the portion of the image array sensor 106 reserved for the light rays 102. Conversely, the cutouts 107 also prevent light rays transmitted through the lens 104 from being imaged onto the portion of the image array sensor 106 reserved for the light rays 101.
  • [0031]
    The field of view of the optical system is defined by the configuration of the lenses 103 and 104 and the cutouts 107 relative to the image array sensor 106. For example, an exemplary field of view of 10 degrees in the vertical direction and 20 degrees in the horizontal directions may be created by the configuration set forth below. In particular, for such a field of view, the lenses 103 and 104 are selected with a diameter of 1.5 mm with a small portion cut away to allow the lenses 103, 104 to be positioned such that their centers are separated by 1.0 mm. The lens 103 is positioned 4.15 mm from the image array sensor 106 while the lens 104 is positioned 4.05 mm away. Both the front and rear surface radii of the lenses 103 and 104 are 4.3 millimeters with a 0.2 millimeter thickness.
  • [0032]
    As best shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, circular cutouts 108 are formed in the lens holder 105. A pair of generally rectangular apertures 110 is formed in a rear wall 112. The rear apertures 110 are 1.6 millimeters in the horizontal direction and 0.8 millimeters in the vertical direction. As best shown in FIG. 4, the cutouts 107 taper from the rear apertures 110 to the diameter of the front cutouts 108 to provide the field of view discussed above.
  • [0033]
    The configuration described above is thus able to baffle light outside of the desired horizontal and vertical field of view. In particular, FIG. 3 illustrates how the system baffles light rays incident at angles beyond the vertical field of view. FIG. 4 illustrates light rays being imaged onto the image array sensor 106 within the horizontal field of view.
  • [0034]
    The image array sensor 106 may be CMOS active pixel image sensor array, for example, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,471,515, hereby incorporated by reference and available from Photobit LLC of La Crasenta, Calif. CMOS active pixel image sensors provide relatively high sensitivity and low power consumption as well as the ability to integrate other CMOS electronics on the same chip. The image array sensor 106 may be a 5050 40 μm pixel array. The number of pixels in the image array sensor 106 is selected such that not all pixels fall within the area that the lenses 103 and 104 project onto. The extra pixels allow for simple correction for mechanical misalignment by offsetting the expected image location.
  • [0035]
    The image array sensor 106 provides spatial information regarding light sources within the field of view. The number of pixels present in the array is selected to obtain sufficient spatial detail although the size of the array is not limited and may be selected, and may even be dictated by physical and economic limitations.
  • [0036]
    The image array sensor 106 must be sensitive to accurately detect tail lights at several hundred feet. Such sensitivity may be achieved by lengthening the amount of time the photosites in the array are exposed to light during a frame period. A frame period is selected to enable the array to capture and transfer a frame to the image processing system in a short enough time to allow the image processing system to detect another vehicle entering the field of view. A short time period also limits the amount of motion within a frame during the integration period and thus produces a relatively more accurate instantaneous image.
  • [0037]
    The use of a pixel array also provides other benefits. For example, as mentioned above, the light integration time to capture a frame can be varied. Such a feature allows the system to provide optimal results in varying degrees in darkness. Another important aspect of an image array sensor is the ability to utilize subsets of the pixels within the array or an individual pixel. As such, as the window size is decreased, the readout rates can be increased. Such a feature allows the system to discriminate ambient light sources, such as street lamps. In particular, such a feature allows the system to locate a light source within the frame and capture several samples of the light sources at a rate several times greater than 60 Hz. In particular, if the samples exhibit 120 Hz intensity modulation, the light source is likely a street lamp or other light source powered from a 60 Hz AC power supply. If the light source is not modulated, the light source is likely powered by the vehicle's DC power supply.
  • [0038]
    Another potential benefit of the image array sensor is that it allows the field of view immediately in front of the vehicle to be imaged by a higher pixel resolution. Thus, the system may be configured such that the effective pixel resolution decreases as the angle of the vehicle relative to the control vehicle increases thus reducing the amount of processing time in those areas. Such a configuration reduces the sensitivity of the device to light sources from reflective stationary objects on the side of the road.
  • [0039]
    An image array sensor could be manufactured in which the pixel pitch is varied as a function of the area in the field of view that the pixel images. For example, pixels imaging the space corresponding to horizontal angles within 3 degrees of the center of the vehicle may be provided with a 10 μm pixel pitch. Pixels imaging horizontal angles between 3 and 6 degrees may be provided with a 20 μm pixel pitch, while those imaging angles greater than 60 degrees may be provided with a 40 μm pitch. While such a configuration may not increase the sensing area, the ability to resolve detail increases; an important aspect in considering the relative size of a tail lamp at a relatively large distance. For example, a 4 1/2 inch diameter tail light at a distance of 200 feet subtends an angle of less than 0.11 degrees. If a 5050 image array sensor is used to image a 20 degree field of view, the tail lamp would subtend approximately 8% of the total area imaged by the pixel.
  • [0040]
    A tail lamp is relatively brighter than its ambient surroundings; however, the red light contributed by the tail light is diluted by the ambient light at such a distance. Such a factor is critical when comparing the amount of red light in a given area to the amount of non-red light in the same area. When the area of space compared is large relative to the light source, the percentage of red light is diminished. By comparison, if 10 μm pixels are used in the center of the array 106 instead of 40 μm pixels, the tail lamp would subtend 0.04% of the total areas, an improvement of 16 times.
  • [0000]
    Image Processing System
  • [0041]
    The image processing system is illustrated in FIGS. 5-8. The image processing system includes the image array sensor 106; a microprocessor 204, for example, a Motorola type MC68HC08XL36; a headlamp control unit 205; and a pair of headlamps 206. As mentioned above, an active pixel array sensor may be utilized for the image array sensor 106. Such an active pixel array sensor includes an image array 201 and an analog to digital converter (ADC) 202. A timing and control circuit is used to control the image array 201 as well as the ADC 202 to control the integration time, read out timing, pixel selection, gain offset and other variables. The microprocessor 204 is used to analyze the data collected by the image array sensor 201. The microprocessor 204 is in communication with the headlamp control unit, a conventional unit, implemented, for example, as a relay, which, in turn, controls the headlamps 206. The headlamp control unit 205, in turn, changes the voltage applied to the headlamp 206 to cause the high beam or bright lamp to be switched on or off.
  • [0042]
    The flow chart for the headlamp control is illustrated in FIG. 6. The system runs in a continuous cycle with occasional interrupts for absolute light measurements, adjustments of ADC parameters, or other functions.
  • [0043]
    At the beginning of each cycle, two images are acquired through the lenses 103 and 104. In step 302, the images from the lenses 103 and 104 are analyzed to detect tail lamps. Another image is acquired in step 303 through the lens 104. The image acquired through the lens 104 is acquired with a low enough gain to detect oncoming head lights while rejecting lower light level reflections and nuisance light sources. After the images are analyzed, the system checks for very bright lights in the image indicating the sudden appearance of vehicle headlamps or tail lamps within the field of view, as is the case when a car turns in front of the controlled vehicle in step 305. If bright lights are sensed, the device dims the headlamps 206 immediately and bypasses the time verification as discussed below. The cycle is then repeated. If there were no bright lights, the system proceeds to step 307 to determine if there are any headlamps or tail lamps in the image.
  • [0044]
    In order to confirm the presence or lack of presence of a headlamp or tail lamp in a frame, an undim counter and a dim counter are used. These counters provide verification of a particular light source whether from a tail lamp or headlamp from consecutive frames before signaling the headlamp control unit 205 to dim or undim the headlamps 206, except as described above, when a bright light is detected. By providing verification, anomalies within the device or in the image will not cause spurious operation of the headlamps 206.
  • [0045]
    The dim counter is incremented each time a frame with a headlamp or tail lamp is detected until the number of required consecutive frames to take action are reached. The dim counter is set to 0 each time a clear frame is processed. The undim counter is incremented with each clear frame and set to 0 with each frame containing a headlamp or tail lamp. The actual number of consecutive frames required to dim or undim is determined by the overall speed of the device. The more frames used for verification, the less susceptible the system will be to noise and anomalies. However, the device must be able to react quickly to be effective so the number of verification frames is kept relatively low. Whenever a headlamp or tail lamp is detected in step 307, the undim counter is set to 0 in step 308. In step 309, the system checks whether the headlamp 206 high beams are on. If the high beams are off, no further action is required and the cycle is repeated as indicated by step 317. If the high beams are on, the dim counter is incremented in step 310. After the dim counter is incremented in step 310, the system checks in step 311 if the dim counter has reached the number of consecutive frames required to dim the headlamps 206. If so, the system proceeds to step 306 and dims the headlamps 206 and resets both the dim and undim counters and repeats the cycle. Otherwise, the system repeats the cycle and proceeds to step to 317.
  • [0046]
    In step 307, if there are no headlamps or tail lamps in the image, the dim counter is set to 0 in step 312. Subsequently, in step 313, the system determines whether the high beams 206 are on. If the high beams are on, the system exits repeats the cycle in step 317. In step 313 if the brights are not on, the undim counter is incremented. After the undim counter is incremented, the system checks in step 315 whether the undim counter has reached the number of consecutive clear frames required to activate the high beams 206. If so, the high beams are turned on in step 316, and the cycle is repeated. If the undim counter is less than the required number for activating the bright headlamps 206, the system repeats the cycle in step 317.
  • [0047]
    The flow diagram for tail light processing is illustrated in FIG. 7. As will be discussed in more detail below, the primary method of identifying an object such as a tail light involves comparing the gray scale value of a pixel through the lens 103 to a gray scale value of the pixel representing the same space imaged through the lens, 104. If the value of the pixel imaged through the lens 103 is significantly higher than the value of the pixel imaged through the lens 104, the light source is determined to be red light. In addition to determining if the light is red, the system also checks the brightness of the red light before deciding that the light is a tail lamp by determining if the gray scale value of the pixel is greater than a threshold value. As is known in the art, the brightness of a light source varies with the square of the distance of the light source from the observer. As such, an approximate determination of the distance of a leading vehicle can be made to determine the appropriate time to dim the headlamps.
  • [0048]
    The threshold value may be computed in a variety of ways. For example, it can be a predetermined fixed number or a number that is a function of the current image sensor and ADC settings. The threshold value can also be determined by computing a threshold as a factor of the average pixel intensity of the entire image which would help eliminate variances caused by changing ambient light sources. In addition, the pixel value may be compared to the average of the pixels in the immediate area of the pikel of interest. This local average method prevents relatively large, moderately bright spots in the image from being seen as vehicle light sources. More particularly, distant tail lamps subtend less than one pixel and thus will only have moderate brightness. Large spots in the image with moderate brightness are most likely caused by reflections from large objects. Close tail lamps which subtend many pixels will have a saturated center which will be brighter than the surrounding pixels allowing the same method to detect them as well.
  • [0049]
    The threshold may also be determined by varying the threshold spatially by way of a lookup table or computation. However, the threshold should be determined so that dimming occurs appropriately for the dimmest tail lights allowed by the DOT standards. Distant vehicles are subjected to the most intense portion of the controlled vehicle high beam, thus requiring dimming only directly in front of the controlled vehicle as indicated in FIG. 1. Thus, a relatively low threshold may be selected for light sources imaged directly in front of the control vehicle while a higher threshold for light sources that are not directly in front of the control vehicle. For example, as discussed in connection with FIG. 1, the threshold for pixels imaging the field of view 3 degrees right and left of the center should correspond to a light level incident on the image array sensor 106 about 4 times as bright as the threshold for red light directly in front of the vehicle and 12 times as bright for vehicles at 6 degrees. Such a spatially varying threshold helps eliminate false tail lamp detection caused by red reflectors by making the system less sensitive to areas of the sides of the control vehicle.
  • [0050]
    A similar approach can be taken for varying the threshold for pixels in imaging areas of space and angles above and below the center. However, a more conservative approach can be taken when determining the tail light sensitivity relative to the vertical angle since vehicles tend to move more frequently and rapidly in vertical directions due to hills and bumps in the road. Therefore, by specifying relatively tight vertical thresholds may cause the bright headlamps 206 to switch on and off as the vehicle moves several degrees up and down.
  • [0051]
    A hysteresis multiplier may be applied to the threshold to prevent oscillations of the headlamps 206 when the light source has a gray scale value at or near the threshold. Thus, if the bright headlamps 206 are off, the threshold will be lower for all pixels to prevent the bright headlamps from coming back on, even if the faintest tail lamps are present in the image. However, if the bright headlamps 206 are on, the threshold should be higher so that only tail lamps of sufficient brightness are sensed to indicate that the car is within the dimming range to cause the headlamps 206 to dim.
  • [0052]
    One of the biggest problems facing the detection of the tail lamps is the nuisance red light reflected from corner cube reflectors commonly found as markers on the side of the road and on mailboxes. The variable threshold method mentioned above helps eliminate some of this noise. However, when a vehicle approaches a reflector at the proper angles, it is relatively impossible to distinguish a red reflector from a tail lamp. Fortunately, by examining successive frames and investigating the motion of these objects over time, such reflections can be filtered. By storing the location of the tail lamps and images over time or by sensing small regions of interest where the tail lamp is located several consecutive times, the device can look for rightward motion and determine if the light source is a reflector. Additionally, the speed at which the control vehicle overtakes a stationary object is much greater than the relative rate a vehicle would overtake another moving vehicle. Thus, the rate of increase in brightness of the object would be typically much greater for a stationary reflector than for another vehicle. This rate of change in brightness coupled with rightward horizontal motion can be used as signatures to reduce the number of false tail lamps detected.
  • [0053]
    A computationally simpler method of analyzing spatial motion of a light source is to simply take several consecutive regions of the local region of interest where the light source is located. Motion in the vertical and horizontal directions is relatively slow for tail lamps of a leading vehicle. Simply sampling a pixel a few consecutive times to see if the tail lamp is present in all samples can adequately eliminate objects which rapidly move within the image.
  • [0054]
    The flow diagram for tail lamp processing is illustrated in FIG. 7. Initially, in step 318, the system ascertains if the pixel is within the tail lamp window. In particular, as mentioned above, red lights are imaged onto half of the image array sensor 106. Thus, if the pixel is not within the appropriate half of the image array sensor 106, the system proceeds to step 319 and moves to another pixel. As mentioned above, there are two criteria for ascertaining whether the image is a tail lamp. The first criteria relates to comparing the gray scale value of the pixel image through the lens 103 with a corresponding gray scale value for the same area in space imaged through the lens 104. If the gray scale value of the pixel imaged through the lens 103 is significantly larger than the gray scale value of the corresponding pixel imaged through the lens 104, one of the criteria for detecting a tail lamp is met. Thus, if the pixel of interest is within the tail lamp window as ascertained in step 318, the gray scale value of the pixel imaged through the lens 103 is compared with the gray scale value of a corresponding pixel imaged through the lens 104 in step 320. If the gray scale value of the pixel image through the lens 103 is not n % greater than the corresponding pixel imaged by the lens 104, the system proceeds to step 319 and examines another pixel. Otherwise, the system proceeds to step 321 and calculates the threshold for the particular pixel based on the region of space it images. For example, as discussed above, the pixel thresholds may be varied based on their spatial relationship within the image array sensor.
  • [0055]
    As discussed above, the other criteria for tail lamp detection relates to the relative brightness of the pixel relative to neighboring pixels. Thus, in step 322, the system calculates the average gray scale value of neighboring pixels. If it is determined in step 323 that the pixel gray scale value for the pixel imaged through the lens 103 is n % greater than the average gray scale value of the neighboring pixels, the system proceeds to step 324 and adds the pixel to the tail lamp list for future frames of reference. Otherwise, the system moves to step 319 and moves the next pixel. In steps 325 and 326, the systems determines whether or not the red light detected is a tail lamp or a reflector, as discussed above. If it is determined that the light is a reflector, the system proceeds to step 327 and moves on to the next pixel. Otherwise, the headlamps are dimmed in step 328.
  • [0056]
    The flow diagram for head light processing is illustrated in FIG. 8. Headlamp detection is similar to tail lamp detection. The primary difference is that only the lens 104 is utilized. As mentioned above, the pixel integration time is shorter and the ADC parameters are such that the image only shows very bright objects, such as headlamps. Most reflections have low intensity light sources which fall well below the zero threshold of the ADC. As such, pixels are compared to the local average intensity of the neighboring pixels. Spatial variances in the thresholds may be set so that pixels corresponding to the center of the field of view are more sensitive and pixels to the left of the image (left hand drive countries) have higher thresholds. These thresholds, however, should not vary spatially to the same degree as the threshold for the tail lamps because of the relatively wide variance in the emission patterns observed from headlamps. In addition, due to the relatively higher potential for more glare to the driver of an oncoming car, the headlamps may be controlled and dimmed relatively more rapidly than in the case when a tail lamp from a vehicle traveling in the same direction is detected. Similar to the tail lamp processing circuit hysteresis may be added to prevent cycling of the headlamps.
  • [0057]
    An additional concern with headlamp detection arises from the rapid decrease in distance between oncoming vehicles which becomes especially critical when an oncoming vehicle suddenly enters the controlled vehicle's field of view, for example, when turning a corner or in a similar situation. For this reason, an additional flag is used to cause the vehicle to immediately dim the bright headlamps and bypass any verification if the light source is above certain absolute high-level brightness thresholds.
  • [0058]
    The primary nuisance light source complicating headlamp detection comes from overhead lights, such as street lights and electrically illuminated street signs. One method of eliminating such nuisance light sources is to analyze their motion. In particular, all overhead street lamps will move vertically upwards in the image as the controlled vehicle is moving. Analyzing this motion provides an efficient method of detecting some street lamps. Unfortunately, distant street lamps appear to be at almost the same elevational angles as distant head lights and the rate of vertical climb in the image does not become great until the street lamp is closer. However, as discussed above, street lighting is AC controlled and thus is subject to 120 Hz intensity modulation. Headlamps powered by DC source do not exhibit this characteristic. Thus, the image array sensor 106 is able to utilize a small number of pixels for taking several rapid consecutive readings in a window. If the window is small enough, the window can read several hundred frames per second. Once the light source is identified in the image, several frames are read out at a rate of 240 Hz or higher. These readings are then analyzed to detect the intensity modulation. If modulation is present, the light source originates from an AC source and can be ignored. Alternatively, a photodiode can be used in conjunction with a low pass filter to determine the ratio of light in the image that was AC modulated to the unmodulated light. If a significant portion of the light source is AC modulated, the light source present in the image is assumed to be from AC light. Otherwise, the light source is assumed to be from a DC source.
  • [0059]
    The flow diagram for headlamp processing is illustrated in FIG. 8. Initially, the system determines in step 329 whether the pixel is in the headlamp window (i.e., in that portion of the image array sensor 106 reserved for light arrays imaged through the lens 104). If not, the system proceeds to step 330 and examines the next pixel. Otherwise, the system examines the pixel in step 331 to determine if the pixel is modulated at 120 Hz as discussed above. If so, the light source is assumed to be a street lamp and thus, the system proceeds to the next pixel in step 330. If the pixel is not subject to 120 Hz intensity modulation, the system then computes the average gray scale of neighboring pixels in step 332. In step 333, the system determines the threshold for the particular pixel based on the area of the space it images. The system next compares the gray scale value of the pixel with an absolute high level threshold in step 334, for example, to determine if any oncoming cars suddenly come into the field of view of the controlled vehicle. If so, the system proceeds to step 335 and sets a flag to cause immediate dimming. Otherwise, the system proceeds to step 336 and determines if the gray scale value of the pixel is n % greater than the average of neighboring pixels. If not, the system returns to step 330 and examines the next pixel. Otherwise, the system proceeds to step 337 and adds the pixel to the headlamp list for future frames to reference.
  • [0060]
    As discussed above, the system examines light sources as discussed above in steps 338 and 339 to determine if the light source is a street lamp. If the system determines that the light source is not a street lamp, the system proceeds to step 340 and sets a flag to cause dimming of the headlamps 206. If the system determines that the light source is a street lamp, the system proceeds to step 341 and moves on to the next pixel.
  • [0061]
    Traditional vehicle lamps systems have the option of the bright lamps being either on or off. The present invention is readily adaptable for use with a headlamp system where the brights can be activated to vary the brightness based on the distance of other vehicles in the field of view. In such an embodiment, the brightness of the headlamps may be varied by various techniques including modulating the duty cycle of the headlamp in order to reduce or increase the overall brightness level.
  • [0062]
    Variable intensity headlamps also result in better noise filtration. In particular, whenever a light source is detected which causes the brightness of the controlled headlamps of the vehicles to be decreased, other images can be detected to determine if the intensity of these other light sources decreases by a similar amount. If so, the system would be able to determine that the light source is a reflection from the vehicle's headlamps. Such information can be used as feedback to provide a relatively efficient means for eliminating nuisance light caused by reflections of the control vehicle headlamps. In such an embodiment, the brightness threshold discussed above would not be used. More particularly, the brightness of the brightest headlamp and tail lamp in the images is used to determine the brightness of the controlled vehicle's headlamps. The brighter the headlamps or tail lamp in the images, the dimmer the controlled headlamps.
  • [0063]
    Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. Thus, it is to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described above.
  • [0064]
    The above description is considered that of the preferred embodiments only. Modifications of the invention will occur to those skilled in the art and to those who make or use the invention. Therefore, it is understood that the embodiments shown in the drawings and described above are merely for illustrative purposes and not intended to limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the following claims as interpreted according to the principles of patent law, including the doctrine of equivalents.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2131888 *Nov 6, 1933Oct 4, 1938Floyd M HarrisAutomobile lighting system
US2632040 *May 1, 1952Mar 17, 1953Jacob RabinowAutomatic headlight dimmer
US2827594 *Sep 2, 1954Mar 18, 1958Jacob RabinowColor discriminating headlight dimmer
US3179845 *May 1, 1961Apr 20, 1965Chester KulwiecHeadlight illumination and signaling system for motor vehicles
US3581276 *Mar 22, 1968May 25, 1971Essex International IncVehicle light control and warning indicator system
US3663819 *Jul 15, 1970May 16, 1972Lucas Industries LtdRoad vehicle lighting system in which same shutter obscures photocell when system is operative and when it is not energized
US4139801 *Jan 26, 1977Feb 13, 1979Linares Raul FAutomatic automobile light control system
US4151526 *Jun 9, 1977Apr 24, 1979Nippon Soken, Inc.Obstacle detecting radar apparatus for a motor vehicle or the like
US4258979 *Dec 8, 1978Mar 31, 1981Mahin William ERear view mirror assembly
US4286308 *Sep 4, 1979Aug 25, 1981Polaroid CorporationApparatus and method for reducing headlight glare
US4376909 *Apr 9, 1980Mar 15, 1983Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaAutomatic light control for automotive vehicles
US4599544 *May 24, 1984Jul 8, 1986General Motors CorporationVehicle headlamp beam control
US4645975 *Sep 4, 1984Feb 24, 1987Ford Motor CompanyComposite light pickup device
US4665321 *Aug 14, 1985May 12, 1987Kwangling ChangAutomatic control system for automobile lights
US4692798 *Jan 7, 1985Sep 8, 1987Nissan Motor Company, LimitedApparatus and process for improving visibility of object within visual field
US4727290 *May 29, 1987Feb 23, 1988General Motors CorporationAutomatic vehicle headlamp dimming control
US4768135 *Nov 21, 1986Aug 30, 1988Robert Bosch GmbhHeadlight arrangement for vehicles
US4862037 *Dec 24, 1987Aug 29, 1989Ford Motor CompanyAutomatic headlamp dimming system
US4891559 *Dec 28, 1987Jan 2, 1990Nippondenso Soken, Inc.Apparatus for controlling a headlight of a vehicle
US4930742 *Mar 25, 1988Jun 5, 1990Donnelly CorporationRearview mirror and accessory mount for vehicles
US4934273 *Jun 20, 1989Jun 19, 1990Spectra Diode Laboratories, Inc.Laser flare
US5008946 *Sep 9, 1988Apr 16, 1991Aisin Seiki K.K.System for recognizing image
US5036437 *Sep 4, 1990Jul 30, 1991Lectron Products, Inc.Vehicle lamp control sensor
US5086253 *Oct 15, 1990Feb 4, 1992Lawler Louis NAutomatic headlight dimmer apparatus
US5096287 *Mar 15, 1991Mar 17, 1992Aisin Seiki K.K.Video camera for an automobile
US5124549 *Oct 15, 1990Jun 23, 1992Lectron Products, Inc.Automatic headlamp dimmer with optical baffle
US5182502 *May 6, 1991Jan 26, 1993Lectron Products, Inc.Automatic headlamp dimmer
US5187383 *Nov 6, 1990Feb 16, 1993Alfonse TaccettaHeadlight actuator associated with windsheild wiper actuation having delay circuits and daylight detection
US5235178 *Mar 25, 1992Aug 10, 1993Hegyi Dennis JLight sensor with diffuser and eye-like response
US5329206 *Oct 30, 1992Jul 12, 1994Lectron Products, Inc.Automatic headlamp dimmer having improved signal discrimination and signal processing
US5347261 *Jan 21, 1993Sep 13, 1994Robert Adell"Hands free" vehicle bright light signal system
US5347459 *Mar 17, 1993Sep 13, 1994National Research Council Of CanadaReal time collision detection
US5379104 *Jan 4, 1994Jan 3, 1995Chuo Electronic Measurement Co., Ltd.Method of, and apparatus for, detecting optical axis of headlamp
US5396054 *May 9, 1994Mar 7, 1995Symbol Technologies, Inc.Bar code reader using scanned memory array
US5402170 *Aug 31, 1992Mar 28, 1995Eastman Kodak CompanyHand-manipulated electronic camera tethered to a personal computer
US5416318 *Apr 7, 1993May 16, 1995Hegyi; Dennis J.Combined headlamp and climate control sensor having a light diffuser and a light modulator
US5426294 *May 26, 1993Jun 20, 1995Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd.Glare sensor for a vehicle
US5428464 *Apr 26, 1994Jun 27, 1995Canon Kabushiki KaishaHigh volume color image printer system
US5430450 *Apr 29, 1994Jul 4, 1995Ford Motor CompanyMethod and apparatus for automatically dimming motor vehicle headlights using radar signal
US5434407 *Aug 23, 1993Jul 18, 1995Gentex CorporationAutomatic rearview mirror incorporating light pipe
US5451822 *Mar 15, 1991Sep 19, 1995Gentex CorporationElectronic control system
US5452004 *Jun 17, 1993Sep 19, 1995Litton Systems, Inc.Focal plane array imaging device with random access architecture
US5481268 *Jul 20, 1994Jan 2, 1996Rockwell International CorporationDoppler radar system for automotive vehicles
US5483346 *Apr 11, 1994Jan 9, 1996Butzer; Dane C.Polarization based optical sensor utilizing total internal reflection
US5485155 *Nov 23, 1994Jan 16, 1996Nippondenso Co., Ltd.Radar system detecting plural obstacles and measuring distance based on full gain and automatic gain control
US5508592 *Dec 21, 1994Apr 16, 1996Osram Sylvania Inc.Method for deflecting the arc of an electrodeless hid lamp
US5537003 *Apr 8, 1994Jul 16, 1996Gentex CorporationControl system for automotive vehicle headlamps and other vehicle equipment
US5541724 *Sep 13, 1995Jul 30, 1996Nippondenso Co., Ltd.Optical radar system for automotive vehicle
US5550677 *Feb 26, 1993Aug 27, 1996Donnelly CorporationAutomatic rearview mirror system using a photosensor array
US5554912 *May 15, 1995Sep 10, 1996Delco Electronics CorporationAdaptive instrument display brightness control system
US5592146 *Nov 6, 1995Jan 7, 1997Kover, Jr.; JosephProgrammable vehicle light controller
US5614788 *Aug 1, 1995Mar 25, 1997Autosmart Light Switches, Inc.Automated ambient condition responsive daytime running light system
US5621460 *Jun 29, 1995Apr 15, 1997Lockheed Martin CorporationOptical differentiation between plants and background utilizing a single CCD camera
US5660454 *Aug 27, 1993Aug 26, 1997Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki KaishaApparatus and method for controlling light distribution of headlamp
US5666028 *Apr 6, 1994Sep 9, 1997Gentex CorporationAutomobile headlamp and running light control system
US5707129 *Oct 13, 1994Jan 13, 1998Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd.Vehicular headlamp producing low beam having cut line controlled in accordance with condition of curved road
US5710565 *Apr 5, 1996Jan 20, 1998Nippondenso Co., Ltd.System for controlling distance to a vehicle traveling ahead based on an adjustable probability distribution
US5714751 *Feb 16, 1994Feb 3, 1998Emee, Inc.Automatic visor for continuously repositioning a shading element to shade a target location from a direct radiation source
US5715093 *Dec 17, 1996Feb 3, 1998Donnelly CorporationAutomatic rearview mirror system with automatic headlight activation
US5736816 *Jun 24, 1996Apr 7, 1998Strenke; Leroy M.Automatic on-off vehicle headlight system
US5751832 *Sep 4, 1996May 12, 1998Progressive Tool & Industries Co.Headlight aiming apparatus
US5765116 *Sep 19, 1996Jun 9, 1998Lucas Industries Public Limited CompanyDriver assistance system for a vehicle
US5781105 *Apr 9, 1997Jul 14, 1998Ford Motor CompanyLight management system for a vehicle
US5786787 *Jun 7, 1995Jul 28, 1998Celsiustech Electronics AbMethod for determining the course of another vehicle
US5796094 *Mar 25, 1996Aug 18, 1998Donnelly CorporationVehicle headlight control using imaging sensor
US5798727 *Dec 24, 1996Aug 25, 1998Denso CorporationObstacle recognition system for vehicle
US5811888 *Nov 12, 1996Sep 22, 1998Hsieh; Cheng-TienAutomatic vehicle power and headlight controlling device with detecting function of a generator and delayed effect
US5812321 *Apr 25, 1996Sep 22, 1998Donnelly CorporationAutomatic sensitivity adjustment for electro-optic mirror and headlight activation control
US5867214 *Apr 11, 1996Feb 2, 1999Apple Computer, Inc.Apparatus and method for increasing a digital camera image capture rate by delaying image processing
US5877897 *Jun 7, 1995Mar 2, 1999Donnelly CorporationAutomatic rearview mirror, vehicle lighting control and vehicle interior monitoring system using a photosensor array
US5905457 *Feb 25, 1993May 18, 1999Rashid; CharlesVehicle radar safety apparatus
US5912534 *Mar 17, 1997Jun 15, 1999Autosmart Light Switches, Inc.Double relay light switching system for providing daytime running lights for vehicles
US5923027 *Sep 16, 1997Jul 13, 1999Gentex CorporationMoisture sensor and windshield fog detector using an image sensor
US5942853 *Jan 21, 1997Aug 24, 1999Robert Bosch GmbhAutomatic high beam headlight device responsive to vehicle operating conditions
US6018308 *Jul 23, 1998Jan 25, 2000Denso CorporationObstacle recognition system for automotive vehicle
US6049171 *Sep 18, 1998Apr 11, 2000Gentex CorporationContinuously variable headlamp control
US6097023 *Aug 17, 1998Aug 1, 2000Donnelly CorporationVehicle headlight control using imaging sensor
US6102546 *Apr 1, 1999Aug 15, 2000Gentex CorporationRearview mirror bezel having reduced apparent size
US6184781 *Feb 2, 1999Feb 6, 2001Intel CorporationRear looking vision system
US6231002 *Mar 12, 1990May 15, 2001The Boeing CompanySystem and method for defending a vehicle
US6255639 *Sep 11, 1998Jul 3, 2001Gentex CorporationControl system to automatically dim vehicle head lamps
US6281632 *Apr 10, 2000Aug 28, 2001Gentex CorporationContinuously variable headlamp control
US6349782 *May 11, 2000Feb 26, 2002Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaFront-and-rear wheel drive vehicle
US6356376 *May 14, 1999Mar 12, 2002Gentex CorporationElectrochromic rearview mirror incorporating a third surface metal reflector and a display/signal light
US6379013 *Jan 25, 2000Apr 30, 2002Gentex CorporationVehicle equipment control with semiconductor light sensors
US6396040 *Oct 12, 1999May 28, 2002Control Devices, Inc.Ambient light sensor
US6396397 *Aug 12, 1999May 28, 2002Donnelly CorporationVehicle imaging system with stereo imaging
US6403942 *Mar 20, 2000Jun 11, 2002Gentex CorporationAutomatic headlamp control system utilizing radar and an optical sensor
US6442465 *Apr 20, 2001Aug 27, 2002Automotive Technologies International, Inc.Vehicular component control systems and methods
US6443602 *Feb 3, 2000Sep 3, 2002Stanley Electric CompanyVehicle headlamp device
US6507779 *Aug 8, 2001Jan 14, 2003Automotive Technologies International, Inc.Vehicle rear seat monitor
US6550943 *Mar 27, 2002Apr 22, 2003Illume, L.L.C.Lamp masking method and apparatus
US6558026 *Sep 28, 2001May 6, 2003Illume, L.L.C.Lamp masking method and apparatus
US6617564 *Oct 4, 2001Sep 9, 2003Gentex CorporationMoisture sensor utilizing stereo imaging with an image sensor
US6902307 *Jun 19, 2003Jun 7, 2005Illume, L.L.C.Taillight apparatus and method of making
US6913375 *Apr 21, 2003Jul 5, 2005Illume, L.L.C.Lamp masking method and apparatus
US6947577 *Dec 19, 2002Sep 20, 2005Gentex CorporationVehicle lamp control
US20020040962 *Nov 19, 2001Apr 11, 2002Donnelly Corporation, A Corporation Of The State Of MichiganVehicle headlight control using imaging sensor
US20040145905 *May 22, 2002Jul 29, 2004Michael StrazzantiLamp masking method and apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7575348Apr 9, 2007Aug 18, 2009Denso CorporationVehicle headlamp device
US7655894Nov 19, 2008Feb 2, 2010Donnelly CorporationVehicular image sensing system
US7792329Oct 27, 2009Sep 7, 2010Donnelly CorporationImaging system for vehicle
US7839303Oct 4, 2007Nov 23, 2010Denso CorporationVehicle detecting apparatus
US7859565Aug 19, 2003Dec 28, 2010Donnelly CorporationVision system for a vehicle including image processor
US7873187Aug 16, 2010Jan 18, 2011Donnelly CorporationDriver assistance system for vehicle
US7949152Dec 28, 2010May 24, 2011Donnelly CorporationDriver assistance system for vehicle
US7972045Aug 10, 2007Jul 5, 2011Donnelly CorporationAutomatic headlamp control system
US7994462Dec 17, 2009Aug 9, 2011Donnelly CorporationVehicular image sensing system
US8017898Aug 13, 2008Sep 13, 2011Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular imaging system in an automatic headlamp control system
US8031062Nov 3, 2008Oct 4, 2011Smith Alexander EMethod and apparatus to improve vehicle situational awareness at intersections
US8063759Jun 5, 2007Nov 22, 2011Donnelly CorporationVehicle vision system
US8070332Mar 29, 2011Dec 6, 2011Magna Electronics Inc.Automatic lighting system with adaptive function
US8090153May 13, 2011Jan 3, 2012Donnelly CorporationImaging system for vehicle
US8142059Nov 9, 2011Mar 27, 2012Magna Electronics Inc.Automatic lighting system
US8162518Jun 30, 2011Apr 24, 2012Donnelly CorporationAdaptive forward lighting system for vehicle
US8189871Jan 31, 2011May 29, 2012Donnelly CorporationVision system for vehicle
US8203440Jan 16, 2012Jun 19, 2012Donnelly CorporationVehicular vision system
US8203443Nov 9, 2011Jun 19, 2012Donnelly CorporationVehicle vision system
US8217830Jul 28, 2011Jul 10, 2012Magna Electronics Inc.Forward facing sensing system for a vehicle
US8222588Aug 5, 2011Jul 17, 2012Donnelly CorporationVehicular image sensing system
US8254632 *Oct 29, 2007Aug 28, 2012Adc Automotive Distance Control Systems GmbhDetection of motor vehicle lights with a camera
US8294608Jul 3, 2012Oct 23, 2012Magna Electronics, Inc.Forward facing sensing system for vehicle
US8314689Jun 18, 2012Nov 20, 2012Donnelly CorporationVehicular vision system
US8324552Jul 16, 2012Dec 4, 2012Donnelly CorporationVehicular image sensing system
US8325986Dec 22, 2011Dec 4, 2012Donnelly CorporationImaging system for vehicle
US8376595May 17, 2010Feb 19, 2013Magna Electronics, Inc.Automatic headlamp control
US8434919Apr 20, 2012May 7, 2013Donnelly CorporationAdaptive forward lighting system for vehicle
US8446470Oct 3, 2008May 21, 2013Magna Electronics, Inc.Combined RGB and IR imaging sensor
US8451107Sep 11, 2008May 28, 2013Magna Electronics, Inc.Imaging system for vehicle
US8481910Nov 30, 2012Jul 9, 2013Donnelly CorporationVehicular image sensing system
US8483439May 25, 2012Jul 9, 2013Donnelly CorporationVision system for vehicle
US8492698Jan 25, 2013Jul 23, 2013Donnelly CorporationDriver assistance system for a vehicle
US8593521Nov 30, 2012Nov 26, 2013Magna Electronics Inc.Imaging system for vehicle
US8599001Nov 19, 2012Dec 3, 2013Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular vision system
US8614640Oct 22, 2012Dec 24, 2013Magna Electronics Inc.Forward facing sensing system for vehicle
US8629768Jun 18, 2012Jan 14, 2014Donnelly CorporationVehicle vision system
US8636393May 6, 2013Jan 28, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for vehicle
US8637801Jul 8, 2013Jan 28, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for a vehicle
US8643724Mar 13, 2013Feb 4, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Multi-camera vision system for a vehicle
US8665079Oct 15, 2012Mar 4, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Vision system for vehicle
US8694224Feb 28, 2013Apr 8, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle yaw rate correction
US8814401Mar 22, 2012Aug 26, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular vision system
US8818042Nov 18, 2013Aug 26, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for vehicle
US8842176Jan 15, 2010Sep 23, 2014Donnelly CorporationAutomatic vehicle exterior light control
US8849495Apr 7, 2014Sep 30, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system with yaw rate determination
US8874317Jul 27, 2010Oct 28, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Parking assist system
US8886401Nov 4, 2013Nov 11, 2014Donnelly CorporationDriver assistance system for a vehicle
US8890955Feb 9, 2011Nov 18, 2014Magna Mirrors Of America, Inc.Adaptable wireless vehicle vision system based on wireless communication error
US8908040May 17, 2013Dec 9, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Imaging system for vehicle
US8917169Dec 2, 2013Dec 23, 2014Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular vision system
US8977008Jul 8, 2013Mar 10, 2015Donnelly CorporationDriver assistance system for vehicle
US8993951Jul 16, 2013Mar 31, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for a vehicle
US9008369Aug 25, 2014Apr 14, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Vision system for vehicle
US9014904Sep 23, 2013Apr 21, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for vehicle
US9018577Feb 25, 2013Apr 28, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular imaging system with camera misalignment correction and capturing image data at different resolution levels dependent on distance to object in field of view
US9041806Aug 31, 2010May 26, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Imaging and display system for vehicle
US9085261Jan 25, 2012Jul 21, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Rear vision system with trailer angle detection
US9090234Nov 18, 2013Jul 28, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Braking control system for vehicle
US9092986Jan 31, 2014Jul 28, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular vision system
US9117123Jul 5, 2011Aug 25, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular rear view camera display system with lifecheck function
US9126525Feb 25, 2010Sep 8, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Alert system for vehicle
US9131120May 15, 2013Sep 8, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Multi-camera vision system for a vehicle
US9140789Dec 16, 2013Sep 22, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Forward facing sensing system for vehicle
US9146898Oct 25, 2012Sep 29, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assist system with algorithm switching
US9171217Mar 3, 2014Oct 27, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Vision system for vehicle
US9180908Nov 17, 2011Nov 10, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Lane keeping system and lane centering system
US9187028 *Feb 14, 2013Nov 17, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for vehicle
US9191574Mar 13, 2013Nov 17, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular vision system
US9191634Apr 3, 2015Nov 17, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Vision system for vehicle
US9193303Apr 20, 2015Nov 24, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for vehicle
US9194943Apr 11, 2012Nov 24, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Step filter for estimating distance in a time-of-flight ranging system
US9205776May 20, 2014Dec 8, 2015Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system using kinematic model of vehicle motion
US9244165Sep 21, 2015Jan 26, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Forward facing sensing system for vehicle
US9245448Jun 17, 2013Jan 26, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for a vehicle
US9260095Jun 13, 2014Feb 16, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system with collision mitigation
US9264672Dec 21, 2011Feb 16, 2016Magna Mirrors Of America, Inc.Vision display system for vehicle
US9318020Jul 27, 2015Apr 19, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular collision mitigation system
US9327693Apr 9, 2014May 3, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Rear collision avoidance system for vehicle
US9335411Jan 25, 2016May 10, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Forward facing sensing system for vehicle
US9340227Aug 12, 2013May 17, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle lane keep assist system
US9346468Sep 29, 2014May 24, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system with yaw rate determination
US9357208Jan 20, 2012May 31, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Method and system for dynamically calibrating vehicular cameras
US9376060Nov 16, 2015Jun 28, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assist system for vehicle
US9428192Nov 16, 2015Aug 30, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vision system for vehicle
US9436880Jan 13, 2014Sep 6, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system
US9440535Jan 27, 2014Sep 13, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vision system for vehicle
US9446713Sep 25, 2013Sep 20, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Trailer angle detection system
US9457717Oct 27, 2014Oct 4, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Parking assist system
US9463744Jan 18, 2016Oct 11, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for a vehicle
US9469250Feb 12, 2016Oct 18, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vision display system for vehicle
US9481301Dec 5, 2013Nov 1, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system utilizing camera synchronization
US9481344Jul 27, 2015Nov 1, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Braking control system for vehicle
US9487235Apr 1, 2015Nov 8, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle control system with adaptive wheel angle correction
US9491450Jul 30, 2012Nov 8, 2016Magna Electronic Inc.Vehicle camera alignment system
US9491451Nov 14, 2012Nov 8, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Calibration system and method for vehicular surround vision system
US9495876Jul 27, 2010Nov 15, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular camera with on-board microcontroller
US9499139Dec 5, 2014Nov 22, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle monitoring system
US9507021May 9, 2016Nov 29, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Forward facing sensing system for vehicle
US9508014May 5, 2014Nov 29, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular multi-camera vision system
US9509957Apr 19, 2013Nov 29, 2016Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle imaging system
US9545921May 2, 2016Jan 17, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Collision avoidance system for vehicle
US9547795Jan 20, 2012Jan 17, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Image processing method for detecting objects using relative motion
US9555803May 16, 2016Jan 31, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistance system for vehicle
US9558409Dec 11, 2013Jan 31, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system with trailer angle detection
US9563809Apr 18, 2016Feb 7, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicular vision system
US9563951May 20, 2014Feb 7, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system with targetless camera calibration
US9598014Oct 17, 2016Mar 21, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vision display system for vehicle
US9609289Aug 29, 2016Mar 28, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vision system for vehicle
US9610891 *Oct 26, 2010Apr 4, 2017Fujitsu Ten LimitedIn-vehicle illuminating apparatus, image processing apparatus, and image displaying system
US9623878Apr 1, 2015Apr 18, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Personalized driver assistance system for vehicle
US9643605Oct 26, 2015May 9, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vision system for vehicle
US9656608Jun 13, 2016May 23, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assist system for vehicle
US9681062Sep 25, 2012Jun 13, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle camera image quality improvement in poor visibility conditions by contrast amplification
US9701246Dec 7, 2015Jul 11, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system using kinematic model of vehicle motion
US9715769May 23, 2016Jul 25, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Process for determining state of a vehicle
US9723272Oct 4, 2013Aug 1, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Multi-camera image stitching calibration system
US9731653Mar 16, 2017Aug 15, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vision display system for vehicle
US9736435Mar 20, 2017Aug 15, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vision system for vehicle
US9743002Nov 18, 2013Aug 22, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Vehicle vision system with enhanced display functions
US9758163Nov 9, 2015Sep 12, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Lane keeping system and lane centering system
US9761142Sep 3, 2013Sep 12, 2017Magna Electronics Inc.Driver assistant system using influence mapping for conflict avoidance path determination
US20070023613 *Oct 6, 2006Feb 1, 2007Donnelly CorporationVehicle headlight control using imaging sensor
US20070109406 *Jan 3, 2007May 17, 2007Donnelly Corporation, A Corporation Of The State Of MichiganImage sensing system for a vehicle
US20070109651 *Jan 4, 2007May 17, 2007Donnelly CorporationImage sensing system for a vehicle
US20070109653 *Jan 8, 2007May 17, 2007Kenneth SchofieldImage sensing system for a vehicle
US20070109654 *Jan 10, 2007May 17, 2007Donnelly Corporation, A Corporation Of The State Of MichiganImage sensing system for a vehicle
US20070176080 *Jan 9, 2007Aug 2, 2007Donnelly CorporationImage sensing system for a vehicle
US20070253210 *Apr 9, 2007Nov 1, 2007Denso CorporationVehicle headlamp device
US20070253597 *Mar 20, 2007Nov 1, 2007Denso CorporationVehicular front environment detection apparatus and vehicular front lighting apparatus
US20080030374 *Aug 2, 2007Feb 7, 2008Denso CorporationOn-board device for detecting vehicles and apparatus for controlling headlights using the device
US20080054161 *Nov 7, 2007Mar 6, 2008Donnelly CorporationImage sensing system for a vehicle
US20080088481 *Oct 4, 2007Apr 17, 2008Denso CorporationVehicle detecting apparatus
US20090045323 *Aug 13, 2008Feb 19, 2009Yuesheng LuAutomatic Headlamp Control System
US20090174572 *Dec 20, 2008Jul 9, 2009Smith Alexander EMethod and apparatus for an adaptive target vehicle notification system
US20100020170 *Jul 24, 2009Jan 28, 2010Higgins-Luthman Michael JVehicle Imaging System
US20100061594 *Oct 29, 2007Mar 11, 2010ADC Automotive Distance Systems GmbHDetection of motor vehicle lights with a camera
US20100214791 *Aug 10, 2007Aug 26, 2010Donnelly CorporationAutomatic headlamp control system
US20120229645 *Oct 26, 2010Sep 13, 2012Fujitsu Ten LimitedIn-vehicle illuminating apparatus, image processing apparatus, and image displaying system
US20130158796 *Feb 14, 2013Jun 20, 2013Magna Electronics, Inc.Driver assistance system for vehicle
EP2266836A1Jun 17, 2010Dec 29, 2010Tofas Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi Anonim SirketiHeadlamp system where light intensity is adjusted automatically
WO2014028850A1 *Aug 16, 2013Feb 20, 2014Gentex CorporationMethod and system for imaging an external scene by employing a custom image sensor
Classifications
U.S. Classification315/82, 348/E03.02
International ClassificationH04N5/335, H04N5/232, B60Q1/08, B60Q1/14, B60Q1/18, B60Q1/00, B60Q1/02
Cooperative ClassificationH04N5/335, H04N5/232, G06K9/00825, B60Q2300/45, B60Q2300/42, B60Q2300/41, B60Q2300/337, B60Q2300/333, B60Q2300/3321, B60Q2300/332, B60Q2300/324, B60Q2300/322, B60Q2300/314, B60Q2300/312, B60Q2300/21, B60Q2300/134, B60Q2300/122, B60Q2300/116, B60Q2300/114, B60Q2300/112, B60Q2300/054, B60Q1/18, B60Q1/143, B60Q1/1423, B60Q1/085
European ClassificationH04N5/232, B60Q1/18, H04N5/335, B60Q1/08G, B60Q1/14C1B, G06K9/00V6T, B60Q1/14C1, H04N3/15E4