Hitachi Realizes Automatic Parking System Using Only 4 Cameras

Oct 10, 2013
Naoshige Shimizu, Nikkei Automotive Technology
The system is being tested on a vehicle made based on Nissan's Leaf.
The system is being tested on a vehicle made based on Nissan's Leaf.
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Clarion Co Ltd announced that it has been developing a system for automatically parking a car in collaboration with Hitachi Automotive Systems (AS) Ltd and Hitachi Ltd.

Clarion is affiliated with the Hitachi group. The announcement was made at Ceatec Japan 2013, which will took place from Oct 1 to 5, 2013, in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

The system parks a car in a parking space by controlling its steering, brake and engine. Clarion has almost completed the system in terms of technologies, it said. The company is about to start promoting the employment of the system to automakers.

Some other companies including Honda Motor Co Ltd have already commercialized systems that help park a car by controlling its steering. But they require the driver to operate the accelerator and brake pedals.

With the system being developed by the Hitachi group, however, all that the driver needs to do is, for example, to press a button. And the driver does not have to operate the accelerator pedal, etc.

Currently, the system is being tested on a vehicle made based on Nissan Motor Co Ltd's Leaf electric vehicle (EV). Only with four monocular cameras installed on the four sides of the vehicle (one camera on each side), the system recognizes white lines and obstacles within a distance of several meters from the vehicle. It does not use an ultrasonic sensor to find obstacles.

The camera is probably a black-and-white camera with a pixel count of about 300,000. In regard to the accuracy of recognizing obstacles, Clarion aims to realize a margin of error of ±5cm.

For the development of the system, Clarion is developing the image processing function using the four cameras, Hitachi AS is making a system to control driving devices including a steering, and the R&D headquarters of Hitachi is helping develop algorithms for the entire system.

Audi AG showed a system that parks an unmanned car at International CES 2013, which took place in January 2013 in the US. And the system announced by the Hitachi group can do the same thing, Clarion said.