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A view round the corner

Published:Sunday | November 9, 2014 | 12:00 AMChad Bryan
File A dashboard display like this one would offer a view around the corner when the new camera technology is utilised.

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.