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Traffic sign recognition - cameras also observe: the watchful eye goes with you

Traffic sign recognition - watch cameras with
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BMW started almost two years ago: the 7er not only with an optional night vision device, but also with traffic sign recognition to get. Opel moved with Insignia and finally even the compact Astra to. Mercedes also equips its models with the E- and S-Class for a surcharge meanwhile with a camera system that supports the Can read traffic signs.

Cameras read standardized speed limit signs

' The map material of the navigation systems only contains around 65 to 70 percent of all speed limits ', says Artur Ruß, Head of Development for Driver Assistance Systems at BMW,' above all, these data are purely static and therefore do not take into account any construction sites or traffic bridges on motorways with variable speed limits. It's different with us. '

A small camera with wide VGA technology behind the inside mirror reads the traffic signs on the roadside. If the camera eye sees such a speed limit, it shows it in comparison with the map material on the hard drive navigation system of the new 7 Series BMW and warns the driver if the speed limit is exceeded. The intelligent system recognizes all speed limits of countries that belong to the Vienna Convention. The participating states have agreed that a speed limit will typically consist of a round sign with a red outer ring and a number for the speed limit. In most countries, the new 7 system can therefore be almost clairvoyantSkills shine.

It looks different in the USA, for example - the United States does not have standardized speed signs. Artur Ruß: 'The customer benefits equally in the city center, on motorways and country roads - but especially on longer journeys.'

The system warns, but does not brake

There have been initial approaches for similar systems it was ten to 15 years ago. But camera technology and computer processors have only now reached the point where the images recorded while driving can be processed extremely quickly and without errors. If the windshield wiper is switched on, the system can, for example, also recognize a speed limit in wet conditions. 'We'll leave it at that, just informing the driver of the speed limit in an information display,' said Artur Ruß. There will be no interventions in the electronics or even braking. Despite its high-tech, the 7 Series is just like its little brother, the 5 Series BMW just started school. Only pure speed limits can be recognized. For example, if you drive past an entrance sign into a built-up area, the computer accesses the onboard map material on the hard drive. 'Of course there were also problems with the development,' says Artur Ruß, 'so the special writing on the Swiss speed signs kept us busy for a long time. In addition, we had to ensure through a large number of runs that the camera system did not hit the speed limits on the tarpaulins of trucks in front accesses. ' Incidentally, heavy rain, low sun or fog do not worry the system.

End of speed limits are not recognized

A similar system is now also coming onto the market in the Opel Insignia /Astra models and thus in the high-volume compact and medium-sized classes. The system has the same basic functions as that of BMW. With its E- and S-Class models, Mercedes followed suit. Not only do they have cruise control, night vision devices and lane departure warning systems, but they also bring traffic sign recognition onto the market. Also Toyota / Lexus and Volvo bring intelligent camera systems to the start promptly.

D och with the camera systems, not everything that glitters is gold. A trip in a Mercedes E 220 CDI T-model shows that the technology is far from being mature. So showsStuttgarter Familienkombi shows the speed limit in the central display as a speed limit, even if it only applies when the road surface is wet or at certain times of the day. Even more annoying: the system only recognizes the speed limit, but not its cancellation.


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