Vehicle surroundings monitor with obstacle avoidance lighting

  • US 6,285,778 B1
  • Filed: 06/06/1995
  • Issued: 09/04/2001
  • Est. Priority Date: 09/19/1991
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. A surroundings monitor for a vehicle moving over a supporting surface comprising:

  • a two-dimensional matrix pattern light projector which receives a laser beam and projects a two-dimensional light spot matrix pattern downward onto a monitored area within said supporting surface located in closed proximity to vehicle;

    a camera for photographing the light spot matrix pattern; and

    a data processor which processes image signals supplied from the camera to detect the presence of obstacles and depressions in the monitored area within said supporting surface, wherein said data processor further comprises;

    a reference data generating means which extracts a light spot pattern from pixel data, the pixel data including a coordinate position of the light spot baricenter which is obtained from the image signals supplied by the camera that photographed the light spot pattern projected upon a flat road surface when a sensing means is first mounted on a vehicle;

    a detecting means which compares the light spots of the reference data with light spots which are extracted from pixel data, the pixel data being produced from the image signals supplied by the camera that photographed the light spot pattern projected upon a road surface being examined, in order to detect the presence of obstacles and depressions; and

    a height correction means which corrects the three-dimensional coordinates of the road surface according to changes in the camera height from the road surface, wherein said height correction means first detects displacements of the three-dimensional coordinates of light spots at several predetermined points from those at the same points of said reference data with passengers on board the vehicle, determines a height correction value by the amount of sinkage of the vehicle caused by a weight of the passengers, said amount being calculated from said detected displacements, and subtracts said height correction value from the actual three-dimensional coordinates of the road surface for obtaining the actual road surface being examined.

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