A driver assistance system is developed which emphasizes in particular the boundary conditions of (partially) disabled drivers. It is our goal to study how driver assistance can benefit from a combination of image sequence evaluation and logic interpretation of intermediate results on the basis of a conceptual representation. Based on a better understanding of the current traffic situation gained by this process, the system is expected to ease the driving task for the driver, as long as he does not overrule the system; especially lane and distance keeping may be automated in the future. It is expected that the complexity of situations which an assistance system has to handle will increase continuously in the future. A fully autonomous system - a.k.a. autopilot - has to cope with any situations what so ever. An autopilot would have to operate far more reliably than an average human driver. It can not yet be estimated whether and when such a system can be realized.
A new sedan has been fully equiped with computers, cameras, sensors, computer controlled actuators for accessing steering, gas pedal, brake pedal, gear switch, light, and direction indicators. The software constituting the driver assistance system is currently being developed. The system can already determine its relative ego-position by means of model based image sequence evaluation. It can drive the car along a given path without feedback from the vision system, i. e. the controler and image evaluation system are not yet connected.
Our current work must be considered as a basic research project. The costs and efforts required to take (parts of) our system to market can not yet be estimated. It is understood that the costs of such systems have to be brought down to the price level of current navigation systems. Our results are published in relevant journals and conferences.
Difference To Other Autonomous Systems
In this project, we focus on inner-city traffic situations since these offer new challenges compared to motorways and motorway-like roads, regarding in particular a wide variation in the kind, speed, and heading of other road users, dense buildings and complex, partially occluded intersections. This complexity asks for an approach that can cope reliably with a variety of different situations, instead of a quick fix for a specific task. For this reason, we are studying an approach based on model based image sequence evaluation.
Use for Disabled Drivers
Disabled drivers need a driving licence as all drivers do. It is expected that a driver assistance system may offer more self confidence to disabled drivers. The first systems can therefore be more specialized and more expensive than a system designed for the normal driver.