Opel introduces Opel Eye: 2-in-one safety system


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

Located between the windshield and the rear-view mirror, the camera detects road signs and lane markings. It is not much bigger than a mobile phone yet can take thirty pictures per second. Two signal processors, with the help of proprietary GM software, filter and read the photos.

The Traffic Sign Detection can read speed limit and no-passing signs, and can notify drivers when speed restrictions have been lifted. Depending on light conditions, the system begins to recognise and repeatedly read signs at 100 metres. It starts by focusing on circular patterns then identifies the numbers inside them via contour comparison. If a picture matches an image of a road sign in the car's software, the sign is displayed in the instrument panel.

The system always displays the most relevant information for safe driving, filtering out many signs that may overwhelm drivers. If two signs are recognised in close proximity to one another, then special notice signs, like "no passing" restriction would take precedence over a speed limit sign.

The Opel Eye gives more accurate information than portable navigation systems with stored speed limits because the camera works in real-time. If a speed limit changes, for instance, due to road construction, the Opel Eye detects it.

The Lane Departure Warning alarm indicates via audio and visual signals that the driver appears to have unintentionally wandered out of his lane, for instance because he's been distracted or is falling asleep.

Lane Departure Warning uses a second signal processor and software to filter lines and longitudinal patterns at speeds above 50 km/h, which enables the system to recognise the traffic lane. By using specific algorithms that define the conditions in which alerts are given and by noticing steering wheel and turn-indicator movements – signalling an intentional lane change – the system is designed only to intervene at the appropriate moment.

GM Europe also is working on vehicle-to-vehicle communication, where cars can exchange information like position and speed.

Drivers can be warned in advance if another car is travelling in a blind spot, stopped in an area that is difficult or impossible to see, or about to enter the same intersection. A pilot project is currently underway in the German state of Hessen in collaboration with the state government.

The Opel Eye, featuring the Traffic Sign Detection and Lane Departure Warning will be available as an option in the new Opel Insignia. Other models will offer the systems in the future.

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