Cameras are excellent ways of non-invasively monitoring the interior and exterior of vehicles. In particular, high speed stereovision and multivision systems are important for transport applications such as driver eye tracking or collision avoidance. This paper addresses the synchronisation problem which arises when multivision camera systems are used to capture the high speed motion common in such applications. An experimental, high-speed tri-vision camera system intended for real-time driver eye-blink and saccade measurement was designed, developed, implemented and tested using prototype, ultra-high dynamic range, automotive-grade image sensors specifically developed by E2V (formerly Atmel) Grenoble SA as part of the European FP6 project – sensation (advanced sensor development for attention stress, vigilance and sleep/wakefulness monitoring). The developed system can sustain frame rates of 59.8 Hz at the full stereovision resolution of 1280 × 480 but this can reach 750 Hz when a 10 k pixel Region of Interest (ROI) is used, with a maximum global shutter speed of 1/48000 s and a shutter efficiency of 99.7%. The data can be reliably transmitted uncompressed over standard copper Camera-Link® cables over 5 metres. The synchronisation error between the left and right stereo images is less than 100 ps and this has been verified both electrically and optically. Synchronisation is automatically established at boot-up and maintained during resolution changes. A third camera in the set can be configured independently. The dynamic range of the 10bit sensors exceeds 123 dB with a spectral sensitivity extending well into the infra-red range. The system was subjected to a comprehensive testing protocol, which confirms that the salient requirements for the driver monitoring application are adequately met and in some respects, exceeded. The synchronisation technique presented may also benefit several other automotive stereovision applications including near and far-field obstacle detection and collision avoidance, road condition monitoring and others.
Document type: Article
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