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FEATURE COVER STORY


Designing-in 360˚ wrap-around view system into vehicles


Socionext outlines the main advantages of 360˚ surround vision for drivers, and explains how it can provide the hardware and software needed to help designers implement this technology into vehicles, quickly and easily


W


e recently wrote about 360˚ Surround Vision for Drivers and


how it will make driving safer and a more enjoyable experience. The 360˚ Wrap- Around View System, as we mentioned, consists of four movable cameras mounted on to the front, sides, and rear of a vehicle. Two major features are the ‘free-eye point’ technology and the algorithms that seamlessly stitch together the four independent camera images giving designers the freedom and flexibility in designing their systems. This unique software and hardware solution uses a video-processing chip, the MB86R24 Graphics Display Controller by Socionext, which adopts the 600MHz ARM® Cortex-A9 dual CPU core and supports API open standard API formats such as Open GL® ES2.0.


YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE The complexity and sophistication of both the graphics display controller and the 360° Wrap-Around View System are indisputable. The design and tests of the final visual application requires a certain degree of expertise before placing the solution into a car. Which is why Socionext provides a set of design tools to ease the way of the developer into the system to create the desired points-of- view according to the requirements of the final product. These design tools allow the recreation of conditions such as camera angles or daylight brightness to increase the accuracy of the result during the calibration process. The workflow begins with user input data such as the camera lens distortion parameters, some still shots of each camera capture, and a 3D model of the end customer vehicle. This 3D model will firstly be converted from a file created with Autodesk®, 3ds Max® or a similar design tool into a suitable input format, with the assistance of the S3D Converter Tool. After that, the vehicle model data can be adjusted with the Material Editor Tool to modify its colour, light source position, or coordinate axis rotation. It is


12 JUNE 2017 | ELECTRONICS


also possible to store different material combinations into csv files making it particularly easy to switch between diverse material sets in order to comply with customer requirements. Both tool outputs will serve as part of the final visual application.


CAMERA INPUTS As for the camera inputs, after placing the cameras on the vehicle (front, back, left, right) and situating triangle markers at a pre-determined distance from it, captures will be taken that will be provided as input to the System Data Creator Tool. This tool is the core to the calibration process and, therefore, is a substantial part of the complete design workflow. Along with the captured images, key data such as distortion and texture parameters, marker size, marker position (which can be adjusted through a very convenient GUI and then saved for later use), and clipping areas should be entered by the user to specify the


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Socionext™ MB86R24


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Software synthesizes and displays the images from the four cameras


Hardware workflow, showing the hardware components of the system (below)


Flexible viewpoint, showing images from the four cameras (bottom)


border conditions within which our final views will be created. The System Data Creator will gather this information and treat it as a whole, outputting calibration data that will be used as input for the next tools. The View Maker Tool receives the calibration data generated by the System Data Creator and puts it together with the vehicle 3D model data (after Material Editor) in order to show the designer a preview of what will be seen on the vehicle display. The designer can then decide which objects (views) will be placed into his or her final application, namely a bird’s eye type view, or just the individual camera inputs (for example, the rear camera), or, of course, the 360° wrap-around view. When choosing the latter type, the designer will be able to redefine the projection surface and see a preview of the results to be displayed on the final application. The View Maker contains a series of sub-tools which will then be used to improve and reduce the stitching between camera inputs to a minimum, eliminating blind spots and undesired camera transition effects.


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CUSTOM-DEFINED LAYOUT A file output containing all the views created will then be sent to the final design tool, the Layout Creator, in which these views will be placed into a custom- defined layout, from which output libraries are generated. This is very convenient if different types of layouts need to be tested on the final product without recalibrating the system, e.g. a layout that contains exclusively the bird’s eye view versus a layout that contains the 360° wrap-around view along with a couple of the individual camera views on the side. The final application will make use of the Layout Creator output libraries to display the views of the driver assistance system in the vehicle. As a side note, it is worth mentioning a


/ ELECTRONICS


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