With the growing popularity – and legality – of self driving vehicles, the technology that supports them must also grow. These autonomous vehicles are subject to the same risks as any traditional car – from traction issues to dark-colored obstructions. If a dark-colored animal pops up, the cameras and LIDAR systems may not see it, just as the average human driver may not. Contrast, Inc. is set on developing additional technology to equip these vehicles with improved safety.
The company is a leader in optical design and integration including both real-time electronics and the software that supports it. Their recent patent, a real-time HDR video technology, can be used to improve vehicle control and safety. The technology provides an autonomous vehicle with a video camera capable of merging images taken from different light levels. The merged images replace saturated parts of the image with the corresponding lower-light image. This merging allows the video stream to produce a video with a dynamic range including very low-light and very intensely-lit components.
By gathering pixels from the available image sensors and streaming them directly through a pipeline processing operation to the HDR system. This streamlined processing removes the wait time often associated with video processing. The real-time live HDR video can effectively enhance any image or video application and has uniquely qualifying characteristics for the autonomous vehicle industry. This data processing technology is particularly adept at operating in high glare conditions meaning the risk associated with city rush hours can be reduced. The responsiveness to available and changing light levels also provides expertise in addressing an approaching tail light – allowing a vehicle to better predict when a car in front has put on the brakes.
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