A view round the corner
Scientists in the United Kingdom are developing cameras that can ‘see’ around corners when the vehicle on which they are mounted is turning.
To a driver, around a blind bend lies the unknown. If the project goes as it should, via a display on the dashboard, motorists can spot a cyclist or approaching car in time to adjust their speed and angle of approach as necessary.
According to scientists, the camera will work like a periscope, with light from the target object directed to the viewer via a reflective surface. A periscope uses a mirror, but the new camera being developed by scientists at the Heriot-Watt University captures the light reflected by any available surface, such as a wall or the ground.
Lasers and highly sensitive pixels further refine the light source and a computer reconstructs the image for drivers to view.
Honda is one of the automobile companies which equips its vehicles with side cameras that come on automatically when a turn signal is activated, so drivers can spot obstacles while turning. Nissan has also employed this technology. Their around-view monitor blends images from four cameras nestled in the mirrors and other locations around the vehicle into a composite bird’s-eye view to help drivers reverse from or into a parking spot.
Other motor vehicle companies have employed cameras for different applications. Volvo and Subaru have front-mounted cameras that can utilise the vehicle’s braking system to avoid a crash.